Common Dangers of DIY Electrical Work


DIY is great. It allows you to learn new things and fix your own problems. You no longer have a dependency on electricians, plumbers, or woodworkers. But did you realise that with each project or activity you take on, there are dangers that come along with it?

Today, we want to help you reduce your risks of an electric shock. One of the most common problems we see in DIY is that many people attempt to solve electrical problems—they watch YouTube videos and they do not realise that they are just a hair’s breadth from a real risk of injury, even death.

Danger of Electrocution

There is a serious risk of electrocution if you DIY your electrical problems. Just because you are wearing rubber gloves does not mean that you are protected.

If you do woodworking projects, you can recover from a wood splinter. But getting electrocuted is another thing. You can die, and there is no turning back. This is why you need some serious training before you touch wires.

If you put the wrong wires together and turn the power on, you may have a surge of power. If you accidentally touch the wires and forgot to turn off the power, you are also dead in the water. Your clothing, sweat, and distance from the power source are also all relevant factors that contribute to this real danger.

Danger of Fire

Maybe you do not get electrocuted, but if you do things the wrong way, there is a high risk of fire. The problem is that the fire may not break out now, but it may break out when you are asleep.

But what causes fire to happen? Below are some common errors in electrical DIY that causes a fire.

  • Wrong wattage used – if you install a light bulb that does not have the capacity to take the voltage of your power source, it can blow up. Parts of the bulb may melt, and this is going to burn your ceiling.
  • Bad fuse or wrong fuse – if you are not a qualified electrical professional, you should not tamper with fuse boxes. These are manufactured for specific wattage and ampere load. Using the wrong one can cause an overload and a fire.
  • Improper wiring – wires have specific areas where they need to touch. There are also wires where that should never touch. If they do, they will cause a short circuit. There are also many kinds of wires. Some are for neutral, some are for ground, and some are for the positive flow of power. Using the wrong ones will cause a fire.

Another common cause of the fire due to electrical faults is a faulty switch. There are many DIYers who try to put extension switches and plugs without calling qualified electrical personnel. The result of this is a faulty power outlet that cannot bear the load, thus resulting in a fire.

How to Avoid Electrical Dangers

Apart from fire and electrocution, you are going to be in some serious legal trouble. The most common, of course, is non-compliance to the fire code of your locality. In the worst of situations, you could even face criminal charges.

Here are some good ways with which you can prevent the common dangers of DIY electrical work:

Get training – the first thing you have to do is to get legitimate training. No, we do not mean YouTube. Electricity is so powerful that you cannot depend on YouTubers to learn how it works. Take vocational courses in colleges and universities. Take the time to learn from a professor, or get into an apprenticeship program from an expert.

Get Water Away – let us say that you already know how to do things as far as power is concerned. The next step is to watch out for water. Do this while you work and even after you are done. In a sense, you should never even position a socket in a place where there is water. Water causes a short circuit, and there is a serious risk of electrocution.

Install GFCI – new technology made this safety feature available. This is called the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. If your house has this, then good for you. If not, ask your electrical engineer to install one for you. this is a unit that detects abnormalities in the circuit. If a wire hits the water or if it has a problem, the system will shut it down.

Use the right clothing – like woodworking and other DIY stuff, you need to wear the right clothing. For electrical work, you have to wear cotton clothing. It must have long sleeves. Wear a pair of safety goggles made for electrical work.

Some other PPE or personal protective equipment for electrical work are gloves. There are specially made gloves for electrical work, and they are either made of rubber or leather. If working outside, wear a hard hat. It is also best that you wear hearing protectors and most importantly, safety footwear meant for electrical work.

Doing DIY is great as it saves you money and it makes you feel fulfilled. However, the risks of electrical injuries far outweigh the fulfilment that you get from it. If you really want to do DIY, you have to take a course.

We cannot pre-emphasis that watching YouTube videos is not the right way to go. Many people who publish videos about electrical work are licensed electrical contractors, but they do not know how to teach.

Summary: Common Dangers of DIY Electrical Work

Of course, the only danger in any kind of electrical work is electrocution. This article is intended to show our readers the most common problems that may also arise if DIYers do the job. We hope that we have imparted important advice to keep you safe.

If you are unsure, call a professional licensed electrician or electrical contractor. Wait for the qualified contractor to show up, and then ask questions. Or better yet, take an electrical vocational course or apprenticeship. Learn from professionals before you start doing DIY electrical work.