These days, everyone wants in on the DIY projects. Electrical projects are no different. For one thing, doing your own electrical work in some cases can save you tons of money. It can also give you a great deal of satisfaction as a homeowner in working on your own home.

 

Unfortunately, do-it-yourself electrical projects can turn deadly if you don’t have the right knowledge and experience to back it up. In those cases, it’s best to leave it up to the professionals. But when should you call an electrician as opposed to talking the project yourself?

 

As we just mentioned, it takes a bit of expertise to manage many electrical projects. If you find yourself confused at any aspect of the job you’re about to undertake, that is a sure sign that you’ll want to make that call to a professional electrician. Making a mistake in an electrical endeavor can be very dangerous and with hundreds of electrocutions happening each year, you don’t want to be one of them.

 

Sometimes electrical projects can be governed by certain laws and stipulations in place by local government and health departments. Unless you are well versed in codes and regulations, it might be best to let an electrician handle the job. Some jobs even demand that a licensed electrician sign off on the work before they will allow it to be done, and if that’s not how you proceed, you can then be fined.

 

At some point, you may come to realize that you have some faulty wiring. This could be due to overloads on the system, mice or rats that have chewed through the protective coating on the wiring, or your wiring could just be old and outdated. If this is the situation in which you find yourself it will definitely be in your best interest to call a professional. Faulty wiring can cause many dangerous problems including fires, circuit breakers constantly tripping and outages of whole sections of your home. Here again, codes and regulations come into play and if you attempt to fix it yourself and put in the wrong size wiring or the wrong breakers, you could be fined, have trouble reselling your home and, of course, cause more problems than you started with.

 

Have you found yourself with a collection of power strips or extension cords in more than one room? If so, you’ve probably considered adding some extra outlets in places where you think they might do you some good. Surely that can’t be too hard, can it? Just add some wire, cut a hole in the wall and voila, you have the extra space to plug more stuff in. Well, that sounds good in theory, but what you’re actually doing is adding an added burden to that particular circuit – one that may or may not be able to handle it. If you’re not sure how to add voltage and come up with the exact load on that new outlet, it’s best to scratch that off your DIY list. The damage you could incur won’t be worth it in the long run.

Everybody knows that electricians work with electricity, but sometimes the knowledge of what an electrician actually does doesn’t go much further than that. As a matter of fact, most people take electricity itself for granted, let alone the professionals who install it, repair it and make sure it is working right. We flip a light switch and the lights come on and that’s usually the extent of our common knowledge, as far as electricity goes.

 

Electricians can be specialists in certain fields, such as residential, commercial, or even industrial. Residential electricians deal, of course, with electrical situations around the home. This is the one you would call if you were planning on making an addition to electrical features in your home, installing indoor or outdoor lighting, setting up an extravagant Christmas light display, adding another room to your home or changing appliances from old to new. Residential electricians are the go-to people for around the home electrical needs.

 

Commercial electricians deal primarily with places of business and are usually called upon when new equipment is being put in, changes in the infrastructure of the building are taking place, new rooms or additions to the building are built, and any other array of needs of a business where electricity comes into play. Codes and regulations are much stricter in commercial settings than in residential areas and homes and these electricians are often called upon more often than residential ones. A homeowner might be able to take some electrical matters into his own hands, but that is rarely the case for commercial businesses.

 

Industrial electricians are most usually specialists in their field. They deal with a much larger electrical load and have specialized training in dealing with larger current loads, breaker boxes, wiring and machinery. Much like commercial settings, industries have yet again, another set of codes and regulations that they have to go by, and sometimes, even residential and commercial electricians aren’t familiar with those.

 

In maintenance or repair situations, where something electrical has to be serviced for proper functioning or repaired, many times electricians can do either residential or commercial. If this is the situation, they both have to be aware of the proper codes for the job they are working on, or even if they applicable to the jobs they are doing.

 

Some of these electricians focus only on repairs, while others still are primarily involved with new structure. These building electricians are primarily called upon when new buildings are being built. They can read blueprints and put in the initial wiring, panel boxes and breakers, outlets, switches and any extras laid out in those blueprints by the building owners.

 

Overall, there is a vast expanse of different things that electricians can do. Therefore, when it comes time for you to choose one, make sure you are getting the right one for your home or business, especially if there are any particulars needs in one respective area or another.

Emergencies happen all the time and when they do, it is best if you have prepared ahead of time. In situations involving anything electrical, a little preparedness can go a long way and might possibly save your life. So here are a few tips that will hopefully make you a little better prepared, should any of these situations happen to you.

 

Probably everyone has heard the warning against plugging too many things into one single outlet. This includes using extension cords and power strips. You see, a wall outlet with two plug receptors was made for just that: having two things plugged in. That’s pretty much all the load they were created to handle. When you plug in a power strip or extension cord, you are upping that number to however many things can be plugged into that strip or cord, all into a socket that was designed for one single item.

 

Plugging in too many things can create an overload that could cause sparks to fly, quite literally. Since this is a sign of a serious defect or overload problem, you should call an electrician immediately. Even if it’s in the middle of the night, many electricians have 24-hour service and can send someone out promptly. And for an issue this severe, that is certainly your best option. You may think you’ve got the problem under control but there could still be hot spots inside the wall that could result in fire.

 

Power outages are another type of emergency, but they aren’t usually fixed right away. Always be prepared for a power outage by stocking up on candles, batteries, lamps and preferably alternate cooking and heating sources. It is even better still to have a backup power supply, but many times this is not a feasible option, such as in a renter’s situation.

 

When most people think of power outages, they readily associate them with weather conditions such as heavy snow and ice or heavy thunderstorms and wind. However, many other things can cause power outages as well, including car wrecks that might take down a power line, trees being cut down and falling on the power lines, and small animals that might be electrocuted on the wires thus shorting out a section of service. So even when there seems to be no feasible reason, you could lose power in the blink of an eye.

 

Another thing to keep in mind while the power is out is to go around the house and shut off as many items as possible, especially air conditioners or furnaces, dryers that may have been running, microwaves and electric cook stoves. It doesn’t hurt to go ahead and turn off lights, coffee pots, and anything else that can easily be turned back on once power is restored. When the linemen are trying to restore power, having all these items still in the “on” mode can cause the transformers to overload and keep the electricity off. Reducing the load by turning these things off helps them to be able to help you, by getting your electricity restored faster.

You may have recently decided to try your hand at some electrical do it yourself projects. There’s nothing quite like doing a job yourself, saving money and knowing that it was your own handiwork. That’s something to be proud of. However, there’s a very important bit information we’d like to share with you before you get started.

 

Whatever the project you have chosen to undertake, it’s probably a sure bet that you’re going to have to cut the power to whatever room you’re working in. Now, in the perfect world, you would think that throwing a breaker labeled “laundry room” or “kitchen” would cut the power to the entire room. However, to assume such a thing is a very dangerous assumption indeed. Especially in the kitchen.

 

Breaker boxes are wired at the sole discretion of whoever was in charge of the original wiring in the building of the home. But sometimes, and for various reasons, shortcuts were taken, adjustments are sometimes made at a later date, and things may sometimes get added that present too big a load for the current breaker, thus creating a need for another one.

 

This is especially the case in the kitchen area, where large appliances are usually on their own breakers. So, if you cut the power and the lights in the room go out, you may still have a hot wire going to all the appliances and quite possibly, some of the wall sockets and switches as well.

 

One very good way to avoid being badly injured while thinking that the power is off to certain parts of the house is to invest in a voltmeter or socket tester. Both test the voltage coming out of wiring and electrical outlets and could possibly save your life. If electrical DIY is something you plan to do very much of at all, this is an investment you simply cannot afford to do without.

 

If that’s not an option for you and your do it yourself project is a pressing one, there is another option available to you. If the house was wired even remotely correct, there should be one switch that will disable power to your entire home. It will be labeled “Master” and throwing it should shut down everything. It’s a little more restrictive, as it leaves you without any other form of power for tools and lights, but it’s better than taking a chance with your life.

 

If you find yourself in a situation where your rooms and your breakers don’t match up, and you’ve invested in that voltmeter, there is one important job that you should not put off doing, and finishing. Very meticulously switch off every single breaker, one at a time, and check everything that goes off with it. The voltmeter will come in handy here for things less conspicuous, such as the wall sockets. Once you’ve found what the breakers actually turn off, clearly label them as such. That way, you’ll be able to rest confidently know exactly what you’re turning off when it comes time to do your next do it yourself job.

There are just certain times when calling an electrician is not financially feasible and we understand that. Just because you can’t afford a professional doesn’t mean there aren’t some savvy, money saving things you can do to make a do it yourself project almost as beautiful and functional as what an electrician could do.

 

Do you need a little extra light in some hard to reach places? Maybe a pantry or a closet is just a little too dark for your liking, and getting some extra light in there would make things a lot more functional. You might opt for installing some stick on lights that can be purchased just about anywhere these days. They actually work very well, even though they are battery powered. Just make sure that you are not leaving it on for long periods of time. That is one of the secrets to getting them to last longer than most. Besides, it is probably just a temporary fix, and you can have the real thing done later. Until then, just purchase these quick-fix lighting units, peel the back off and stick it where ever it is needed.

 

Another inexpensive lighting trick is LED rope lighting. These are great accents anywhere soft light is desired or needed, especially around cabinets, doorframes and framed art. They can also be used as night-lights for the children’s rooms or for skittish pets who don’t particularly like being left in the dark. Fish aquariums could be lit up as well using these handy pieces for a little extra savings while not running the electric light over the tank.

 

If security is an issue for you and you want to do a little preventative work without spending a ton of money, you might want to invest in a wireless motion-activated spotlight. Detecting movement from 30 feet, the super high beam LED is housed in a rugged, weatherproof casing that is battery operated. It shuts itself off after about 30 seconds to preserve battery life. For outdoor security in a pinch, it’s a definite must to check out.

 

Another security feature you can install without an electrician’s supervision is a keyless entry lock. Available anywhere doorknobs, deadbolts and doorbells are sold, you can install these quickly and easily. They are battery powered and have an incredibly long life, so even if you forget your key, getting in the house is no problem, while those without the code will be left standing outside. Paired up with the aforementioned security light, you’re on your way to a full-fledged security system!

 

Speaking of doors, doorbells are another easily installed feature for your home that really doesn’t require the calling of an electrical professional. Many of these units are now wireless and install in a flash. One piece for the outside of the door and another piece for inside the house and you have your doorbell in place. With just a couple of simple tools, you can have the job completed in no time.