Do it yourself projects are the new craze for home owners, but the reality is that some things are just better left to an expert. Electricity is dangerous, and improperly regulated electrical currents can cause more than just high electric bills or shocks upon installation; they can cause fires or series shorts in the house. Having a professional to consult with on any electrical project is not only helpful, it's necessary.
The do it yourself attitude is great, and the sense of accomplishment felt from a properly executed project is like none other. Still, that sense of accomplishment is not worth the potential risk of a poorly executed electrical project. Keep this in mind when you are working with any electricity.
Fans are perhaps one thing that are an exception to this rule and can be installed by a novice. The reason for this is that fan setups are pretty much universal, so if you are looking to replace an old fan with a new one, you just need to keep track of which wires went where. Of course, telling you that these are able to be worked with is not an excuse to be reckless.
Prior to working on any electrical component in the house, go to the breaker box and make sure that the area is shut off. It is never pleasant to get a shock when working with wires, and sometimes it can be extremely dangerous. Take an extra precaution and throw on some rubber gloves while you are at it. It is always better to be over-cautious than under-cautious.
Unlike fans, lights sometimes have different electrical requirements, so it is very important to check with a qualified professional before assuming that you can just take out one type of light fixture and replace it with another. A lot of older lights use different strengths than the new lights, which can cause issues in function and energy costs.
Naturally, if you are taking out an old light fixture and replacing it with a new one of the same kind, you can do this yourself. For example, if you have a dirty old fluorescent light bulb set up and want to stick with fluorescents you can simply buy a new fixture and install that yourself. Again, make sure to turn off the breaker that controls the lights you are going to be changing.
Appliances are the most important reason to make sure you have a relationship with an electrician. Especially where old appliances are concerned, there can be a vast difference in the currents required by old appliance and new ones. The stove is a prime example of this in action, because many of the old ovens use an entirely different plug to get electricity.
Unless you are a professional electrician yourself, you are much better off getting the advice and professional installation from someone who knows what they are doing.
Find the Right Professional
Finding the right professional may be the hardest part of getting the advice of a good electrician. Naturally, if you have a friend or family member who does this for a living, give him or her a call and see if you can conscript his or her help in exchange for a friendly meal. By getting guidance from a professional, you could tackle the project yourself, but make sure the person you consult really knows what he or she is talking about.
Most people don't have this luxury though, so if you fall into the general population, find some electricians who don't charge to come out. Have them come out and offer you an estimate. Whatever you do, don't try to just get free advice and then do it yourself. If you get useful advice before hiring, that's probably the person you want to hire. Just remember, always stay on the side of caution when working with electricity.
Also, keep in mind that value matters more than price. If you are unsure about going with someone cheaper, trust your instinct and spend a few extra dollars. Remember that poorly executed electricity can lead to electrical fires. The do it yourself attitude is great, but don't be afraid to get professional help when it is needed.
Shneider Electric offers some great tips and advice on protection against electrocution.Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba