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.