It may often feel like a hassle to call a licensed worker to take care of some basic maintenance work around the house; after all, why would anyone pay to get something done when they can do it themselves? Home maintenance requires both skill and patience. While there are some tasks that you would definitely need professional help for, but you can take care of most minor inconveniences on your own without external assistance, provided you have the right tools and skillset.
One of the most major domains in home maintenance is electricity. You cannot mess with electricity works. Having electrical problems in your home can be quite troublesome, and if left unattended for too long, it can even become a health hazard. This is why, you should get the right professional help such as from First Energy Toledo.
Electrical work at home can range from simple installations to rewiring circuits. Please note that before doing anything technical, consult a professional worker. Only after you have consulted with a licensed electrician, you can get an idea whether you can do it on your own or not. If you decide to do it on your own, take all necessary precautions. Here is everything you must keep in mind before attempting to work with electricity at home.
Turn Off the Main Power
The electrical panel in any home receives power from the electrical utility. The panel distributes the power to all the circuits set up in your home. In this panel, there are different breakers for each circuit in the house, meaning that when a breaker is turned off, the loop is broken, and electricity stops flowing through that particular circuit. Make sure that your circuit breaker has the correct rating before using it.
If you know exactly which circuit powers which parts of your house, you can turn off just one breaker that supplies electricity to the area where you plan on working. However, if you have even the slightest of doubts, turn off the power supply completely. Not switching the power off would mean risking shorting your appliances as well as your life.
Use Testers to Be Sure
To make sure that your circuit has been de-energized (i.e. the main source of electricity has been cut off), you may use a tester. A tester is a tool used to see whether or not electricity is running through a circuit. When it touches a live circuit or a hot wire with electricity running through it, a bulb inside the tester lights up to indicate that it is not safe to touch. You must check to see if all wires (especially the ones without insulation) and conducting surfaces are safe to touch before starting your work. Aside from testers, you can also use voltage meters to check if a circuit is energized.
Make Sure Everything is Properly Insulated
If you are working on something at a height, make sure to never use a steel or aluminum ladder. A ladder should be made of wood or any other insulator. Moreover, there are customized clothes that are especially made for this sort of work. Depending on the type of work you are doing, you will require either an entire insulated suit, or at least gloves to save you from electrocution in case of an accident.
Your wires should be properly insulated, and so should be your equipment. All the tools you use should have non-conductive handles. Things like damaged wires and broken plugs are already dangerous enough without you touching or working with them. So make sure to replace any such components in your circuit as soon as you notice it.
When working on a board where you can accidentally touch a live wire, it is best to use a cap to insulate the bare ends of the live wire. This will ensure safety and prevent a short circuit.
Stay Away from Water
Make sure your hands are completely dry before you start any kind of electrical work even if you plan on wearing insulated clothes. The presence of any moisture can easily cause an electrical hazard, since water is one of the best conductors of electricity. If water does somehow get inside an outlet, you must make sure it is completely dry before you try to work again. Trying to plug something in before the outlet is completely dry can also result in a short circuit.
While this may go without saying, do NOT try to remove water from an energized circuit. Furthermore, never work with electricity in a room where condensation is a possibility.
Keep Away Flammable Liquids
Flammable liquids have a very well-known ability to create static electricity. They are also great conductors. This is mostly solvents that have Petroleum in their composition. These liquids are less dangerous when flowing through a material that is grounded, however, on their own, you must be very careful with them.
Combustible liquids anywhere around an open circuit are dangerous enough that they can prove to be fatal to anyone in the near vicinity, so take extra security measures if you are dealing with any such materials. To be even more careful in this situation, make sure you wear a protective suit and goggles at all times.
Make Sure You Know What You’re Doing
While it is possible to do electrical work on your own, the risks are much lower if you have at least basic knowledge of everything. This includes things like the purpose of each wire in the circuit in question, where you are supposed to plug them, as well as their color codes according to where you live.
You must also understand the safety risks to you and everyone around you, so in case of an emergency, you can take quick action. This kind of work is always extremely risky, so make sure you at least consult a licensed electrician before taking over yourself.