Homeowners Take Heed: Avoiding Common Electrical Mistakes

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Many electrical repairs can be done safely yourself, however if they're done incorrectly it can not only cause more problems in the future, but can also pose a serious fire hazard. While calling an electrician can be costly, some electrical repairs should only be done by a professional. There are some simple electrical tasks you can do yourself, but be sure they are done correctly. Here are some common mistakes people make when attempting to fix electrical related issues on their own.

Overstuffed Boxes

Behind the electrical outlet is a box designed to safely hold wires. Often, these boxes can be stuffed with too many wires, which can be extremely dangerous. Before you put new wiring in a wall box, make sure the number of wires is limited to the maximum amount the electrical box is designed to hold. Boxes that hold too many wires can cause an increased risk of arcing, which often results in a fire. Make sure your box gives the wires extra "wiggle room," and they are not touching each other.

Unprotected Wires

If you're rewiring something or installing something new, the wiring needs to be protected with some kind of enclosure. Otherwise, bare exposed wiring can become damaged and run the risk of sparking and causing a serious fire. Never install wiring without enclosing it with a fixture or electrical junction box. Also remember to turn off the electrical panel when doing any kind of wiring in the home. 

Reversed Wiring

If you're not familiar with how an outlet should be wired, you can face serious problems. Wires should be attached properly using their color codes. If a black wire is connected to a neutral one, you can get seriously shocked. Be sure to connect the white wire to the neutral terminal of the outlet first, which should always be marked and have a silver screw. Then, connect the hot wire to the other terminal. Green or bare copper wire indicates the ground of the outlet, which should be connected to the grounding screw.

Loosely Installed Face Plates

The face plate that goes over your outlet should be installed tightly. If they're loose on the wall, they can not only look extremely unattractive, but can also cause a threat of the wires arcing. As you plug and unplug items, the face plate tends to move around, and this can cause the internal wires to move as well. Make sure all face plates are screwed tightly in place when you install them.

If you're nervous about tackling these tasks, or if you have a more serious project in mind, consider contacting a local specialist, such as Direct Current, to do the work and keep yourself safe.