Q: What kinds of projects do you recommend for DIY?

Plenty of homeowners are taking on DIY projects for themselves to both save money and just for the enjoyment of completing tasks on their own.  For safety reasons it can be hard to determine what electrical projects are best to complete yourself and which ones require an electrician.  If you have any doubts it is best to contact a licensed electrician, better safe than sorry!

Be sure to give some thought to your experience level and knowledge before taking on any electrical DIY projects. Some homeowners are comfortable doing some basic small projects such as swapping out a light fixture, replacing an outlet or installing low voltage lighting and other will opt to call a professional every time.  Many of these small projects have great tutorials and other online resources that can be reviewed beforehand.

Safety First:

Anytime you are working with electricity, the safest thing to do is to turn the power off both at the wall switch as well as turning off the breaker inside your electrical panel. Always double check that the circuit is off before doing any work, never assume it is off. Check and double check to avoid the risk of shocking yourself or shorting out other wiring or appliances.

Invest in a few good tools for the project:

Some basic electrical tools are nice to have on hand even for smaller projects. We recommend starting with the following:

  • Circuit Tester
  • Lineman Pliers
  • Wire Strippers
  • Good Quality Wire Nuts

Look & Label:

If you are replacing a fixture or outlet be sure to look carefully at how the original is put together before removing any wires or taking things apart. Making labels or taking photos can save a lot of headaches when it is time to put things back together.

Some things are best left to an electrician:

Obviously there are plenty of projects that even a knowledgeable homeowner should call an electrician for. If you do not feel absolutely comfortable with your task it’s better to call a professional. We strongly advise against any DIY projects that involve the following:

  • Anything with the Main Electrical Panel
  • Any outlet or appliance that is sparking
  • Anything affecting the main service feed to your home
  • Wires or cables that are spliced, damaged or look burned
  • Any projects that require bonding or grounding to other systems

Not feeling comfortable:

It’s fine to change your mind and decide to ask for help. For obvious liability reasons can’t “talk you through” a project or answer questions over the phone but are happy to schedule a service call or estimate and take over a project if you decide that DIY isn’t for you! Just give us a call.

Scott Cummings leads the team at Dynamic Electric, a Hillsborough-based full service electrical provider for both residential and commercial needs. Dynamic Electric is dedicated to providing quality workmanship, outstanding service, reliable installation and safe repairs or troubleshooting for all their customers.

In “Ask The Electrician,” Scott answers common questions about electrical work, from switches and outlets to safety issues and preventative maintenance. If you have a suggested question for us to answer – or need an electrician – please reach out to our office at (919) 370-0056 or visit our website.