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Electrical  /  June 12, 2021

5 Common Electrical Mistakes Homeowners Make

5 Common Electrical Mistakes Homeowners Make

A confident and competent homeowner deserves some credit. Understanding personal limitations and calling in trade experts, like an electrician in Kelowna, ensures proper installations and safety is a responsible and knowledgeable thing to do. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, many people started thinking DIY was the smart play for home improvement, even for novices.

There is nothing wrong with DIY if you want to try a new skill. Still, when it comes to maintaining the integrity of your house or dealing with essential systems, like plumbing and electrical, the most cost-effective and safe solution is to call in a licensed and certified tradesperson.

Too many homeowners underestimate their abilities or the importance of certification, especially when dealing with electrical systems. Electricity is not something to experiment with. If you do not have the training and the proper education, electrocution and injury become serious possibilities, not to overlook house fires.

A professional can ensure you do not make any critical or dangerous mistakes. Even if you feel capable, it is easy to overlook the fundamentals when you are new to a skill. Well-intentioned homeowners often make five mistakes that can result in potentially expensive, dangerous, or fatal consequences.

1. Mixing Wire Gauges

Many homeowners go on the look of a wire when making updates or changes to their system; this is a mistake. Wires can look similar and be entirely different outputs. You want to ensure you select the same gauge wire as the one you are replacing or select a compatible gauge for your electrical box.

Choosing the wrong gauge for your system risks overloading the box. In addition, when a wire is attempting to draw too much power from the system, it can lead to damaged appliances or, worse, electrical fires. A professional electrician can mitigate any of these concerns, allowing homeowners to rest easy and safely in their homes after any upgrades.

2. Leaving Wires Unprotected

When a novice homeowner runs wiring, they often ignore the safety hazard of running it through interior walls, next to or through framing. However, leaving wires unprotected can result in several potential problems. For example, if the wiring is frayed or the sheathing is worn away, the electrical current can cause a house fire. A fire inside a wall can spread quickly, even to multiple levels of the home. Additionally, when a homeowner decorates the home, driving nails or screws into walls, the exposed wiring can result in shock or worse. 

All wiring running along or through the home’s framing requires a conduit under most electrical codes. The typical conduit is either rigid metal or flexible plastic. Both materials protect the structure and the homeowner from potential fires, shock, and electrocution.

3. Overloading a Junction Box

Like using the wrong gauge wiring, you must ensure a junction box can support your project. All boxes are calculated to support only so much electricity; overloading can lead to fire-risks. You will often find the maximum output and capabilities stamped on the box; however, you might need to calculate the volume for metal boxes.

4. Not Using a Junction Box

Despite what some DIYers might believe, a junction box is an essential piece of equipment. They help to protect the fragile wiring connections, ensuring they are not inadvertently damaged. The box also provides mounting options and prevents contact between terminals and live wires. As always, an electrician is a preferred technician for handling system maintenance and upgrades.

5. Failing to Support Receptacles or Switches

When a receptacle or switch does not have adequate support, it tends to move. The gentle and repeated movement can lead to a loosening of the wires. Once loose, the wires can present a significant fire hazard.
If you want to ensure your safety, do not attempt electrical updates on your own. Instead, contact a licensed electrician or other electrical repair services, such as those found at Handyman Connection.

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