3 Hidden Dangers of DIY Electrical Work
Sooner or later, every homeowner gets to the point where you ask yourself, “Can I do my own electrical work?” With the right tools and know-how, you could. But should you? Before you head for the circuit breaker, here are three good reasons you should hire a certified electrician instead of trying to do it yourself.
1. You Could Burn Your House Down
Electrical problems start more than 51,000 fires every year, causing 500 deaths and $1.3 billion in property damage, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
When it comes to DIY electrical work, even a simple mistake can be dangerous. For example, using the wrong gauge of wiring on a high-load circuit can cause the wires to overheat.
Do that, and the next time you switch on the air conditioner, the flow of current could melt right through the insulation and burn your house to the ground.
2. You Could Get Electrocuted
An electrical shock as small as 14 milliamps, less than the draw of a plug-in nightlight, is enough to kill you.
On average, 60 electrocution fatalities occur every year because of household wiring accidents. This is often a result of power tools coming into contact with live electrical wires.
Bad electrical work can also cause hidden problems such as reverse polarity, which energizes wires when they shouldn’t be live. Even if that leaves you unscathed when the work is done, it could set up the next unlucky person for a fatal shock.
3. You Might Make It Impossible to Sell Your Home
If you want to add extra living space by converting an attic or garage into a spare bedroom, go right ahead. Hanging drywall and installing carpet can add real value to your home. But leave the electrical part of the project to the professionals.
Otherwise, when it comes time to sell the house, you may find that the wiring and fixtures won’t pass inspection. You could be forced to hire a professional to tear out and replace everything, costing you much more money and scaring off potential buyers.
Know When to Call a Pro
When you hire a licensed electrician, you can get a written warranty on the work performed. Most electricians are also bonded and insured, in case any problems arise in the future.
Before trying to do any DIY electrical work, ask yourself if it’s really worth risking your life to save a few hundred dollars. You might accidentally cause more damage, and end up spending more money than you would by hiring a professional in the first place.
Know When It’s Time to Sell Your Home
If you’re facing an expensive electrical project, that may be a sign that it’s time to sell your home. Before you start cutting holes in your walls and replacing wiring, call a real estate investor and find out if you can get an offer to sell your home. That way, instead of disrupting your day-to-day life with a major electrical overhaul, you can simply sell your house for cash and let someone else handle the electrical work.