With all the DIYers out there showing people how to build and repair things around the home (and we love them!), people are increasingly doing things that they shouldn’t. Home electrical projects are dangerous, and if you are having an issue with your switches, lighting, plug-ins, or wiring in general, leave it up to a certified electrician.
There are tens of thousands of fires caused by electricity each year. Thousands of people are electrocuted, and hundreds die from electrocution each year. It just isn’t worth the risk when you are talking about loosing a loved one or a home all because you tried to save a buck by being an electrical DIYer.
Once you understand that electricity is not a safe place to try your hands at a new skill, the question becomes one of when to call an electrician. Do you need an electrician’s involvement on a bathroom renovation? What about if you just want new light switch covers? There are times when it’s a bit excessive to call a professional, but that is a rare case when it comes to home electrical work.
10 Reasons to Call an Electrician
1. Tripping Breakers
If you are tripping breakers, your circuits are not able to handle the current. This could be caused by an electrical fault, which could start fires. It could mean that you need updated wiring. An electrician will be able to tell if the problem needs an immediate fix. They could save your life by detecting and repairing a fault.
2. Flickering Lights
The most common reason for flickering lights is loose wiring, and that can also be very dangerous and start a fire if not corrected. If you can turn off your breaker, it is possible to inspect the light on your own and fix any loose wiring issues. However, if you don’t feel confident that you can switch a breaker safely or have to remove the light in order to inspect it, call a professional. Especially if you don’t detect loose wiring, a professional needs to be called to see what is going on.
3. More Outlets
Sometimes it’s not about life and death, and you simply want more outlets. This may be especially true if you have cords running under rugs or are overloading the plug-ins with multiple power strips. If you have too many electric gizmos in one area of the home, an extra 20-amp line may need to be installed and dedicated to that area. Only a certified electrician should do that.
4. Updated Outlets
In older homes, the outlets may only have room for two prongs, which can be very difficult in today’s three-prong world. There are adapters for this, but they are unsightly and cumbersome. Especially if you are selling your home, show your buyers that everything is updated by having three-prong outlets.
5. Old Wire
You may not know if you have old wire unless you have an unfinished basement or have replaced some wall plates. They typically are covered in fabric instead of being properly insulated with a plastic coating that is water and heat resistant. If your home was built in the mid 1960s to 79s, you may have aluminum wire, and it needs to be inspected.
6. Feeling Electricity
If you can feel the effects of electricity in your home, then call an electrician immediately. This means warmth at a plug-in, small shocks, or even static electricity. This can be very dangerous!
Plugs near any source of water (kitchen and bathroom) need to be ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets to avoid electric shock. These are easy to install, and they have saved lives.
8. Rusty Panel
It’s a good rule to repair or replace anything that is getting rusty, and your panel is no exception. Once it gets rusty, the box can become compromised, which exposes wiring to the elements.
If you are moving in to a house or selling a house, you should know the condition of the wiring. This will financially prepare you for the cost of any electrical work, but it also lets you know that you are moving into a place that isn’t likely to burn down due to electrical issues. Calling a certified electrician who does inspections ensures that your home is up to code.
You cannot think about DIY without thinking of renovation, and it is very common for people to try to do the work on their own especially if they aren’t getting permits (which is likely illegal) and trying to cut costs. If nothing else, this is exactly when you should call an electrician. You don’t cut corners when it comes to electricity!
These are not the only reasons to call a certified electrician, but they are some of many. If you have questions, call your local electrician. They’ll be happy to save the day!