Americans love to repair things themselves. From the family car to appliances to home improvements, we love do-it-yourself projects. Just look at the popularity of the big box home improvement stores. But just because you’re willing to try home repairs doesn’t mean you have the skills to do it safely.
Most of us don’t have the training or experience needed to safely perform electrical work, which increases the risk of injury and electrocution. Working with electricity requires thorough planning and extreme care — cutting corners can be a costly mistake.
For example, electrical outlets cause nearly 4,000 injuries every year. And each year, more than 19,700 people are hurt by ceiling fans that are improperly mounted or incorrectly sized.
Electrical failure accounted for 89 percent of electrical fires in residential buildings from 2003-2005.
Central strongly recommends hiring a qualified, licensed electrician to perform electrical work in your home. However, if you decide to do it yourself, consider the following important safety tips:
- Make an effort to learn about your home electrical system so that you can safely navigate and maintain it.
- Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities.
- Always follow local codes and ordinances and the requirements of the National Electrical Code.
- Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
- Be sure to unplug any lamp or appliance before working on it.
- Test the wires before you touch them to make sure that the power has been turned off.
- Avoid touching plumbing or gas pipes when performing a do-it-yourself electrical project.
For more tips on treating electricity with care in the home and workplace, visit www.esfi.org.