Do-it-yourself Project or Professional Electrician?

When an electrical problem arises, often people ask “can I fix it myself?” With the amount of information available on the internet, it’s tempting for home and business owners to fix their own problems rather than spend money on an electrician. The answer is available in YouTube video somewhere. However, in some cases, do-it-yourself electrical projects may be violating laws or putting the handyman himself in danger. The real question is “when do I need to call an electrician?”

Home and business owners do not typically need to call an electrician to change features that are external to the electrical system. Changing the face plate on an outlet from faded white to pure white is a task that many people can manage with a screwdriver. Ceiling fans and light fixtures can also sometimes by replaced by a savvy home or business owner. These features are external to the power supply. No one is changing out wires. However, adding a new light fixture where there wasn’t one before may require professional help. Adding a new light fixture requires accessing the electrical system, which is more than simply “plugging in” a light bulb or television.

It’s time to consider an electrician when a job involves more than “plugging in” to the current electrical system. For example, running a new cable line to the home for network television typically requires a professional. Accessing the telephone lines and running holes through the walls is complex. Re-wiring parts of the home or business is also a task best left to the professional. Many states have regulations about how a building must be wired for electrical fire safety. Electricians know and understand these regulations. A homeowner may not.

If a homeowner cannot turn off the power to where he or she wants to work, it’s also time to call an electrician. Most people know to turn off power to an area before working on the electrical components in that area. However, some jobs require that the power be left “on.” In these cases, the area is said to be “hot.” One example of this type of “hot” job is converting a fuse box to a circuit breaker. With an increased risk of electrical shock, hot jobs should be left to the professionals, who have the right tools and knowledge for the situation.

While there are many small projects that homeowners can complete without professional help, tasks that go above and beyond “plugging in” are often better left to a professional electrician.

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