There are certain times in life when your best option is just to call the professionals. Generally, when you are working with electricity is a good time to decide to play it safe and give a licensed and certified electrician a call. Before you take a big risk for very little gain, check out these seemingly-easy electrical situations that actually require a professional electrician's touch.
The Electrical Safety Foundation reports upwards of 55,000 electrical house fires per year, causing 500 deaths and $1.4 billion in property damages, much of it due to improper home wiring or amateur electrical installation. While homeowners are usually capable of simple tasks such as ceiling fan installation, basic wiring jobs and replacing light switches, anything more involved than that should involve a professional, licensed electrician.
Not Safe: Circuit Breaker Panels
If you want to do anything fancier than flip a circuit breaker, it is a good idea to leave circuit breaker problems to the pros. There is a lot of energy running through this simple box, and it can easily cause serious burns if you do something wrong.
Not Safe: Updating Wiring
If you have added on a room to your home, or wired in a room that wasn’t previously wired, it seems like this would be a straightforward task. Unfortunately, no—improper wiring may not cause the immediate problems that a circuit breaker panel does, but it could be a sneaky problem, showing up years down the road and potentially reducing your home to charred rubble.
Not Safe: Home Electrical Systems
Even if you are adding a barn or other small outbuilding, most regions of the United States require the wiring to be completed by a trained and licensed professional. This project looks much simpler than it actually is, and there are a lot of different things that could wrong before you realize it.
If you absolutely must do something electricity-related yourself, keep these safety tips in mind. If a limb falls on a live wire during a storm, assume that it is a live wire and would be fatal for you to touch it. Call the utility company and leave the wire alone. Stay away from standing water when you are operating electrical equipment. Only trained professionals should repair electrical equipment, and always have a qualified and licensed electrician look over electrical equipment if water has touched it to ensure it is safe. Anywhere that electrical equipment comes into contact with moisture, be sure you are utilizing a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GCFI).
When in doubt, and there is electricity involved, and certainly when there is water and electricity involved—call a professional. This is certainly one of those “better safe than sorry” times. While an electrician may require a fee to come check out your issue, that can save you time, money and possibly even your health.