When it comes to home improvement, remodeling and DIY home projects, electricity is no laughing matter. When performing electrical work, even the most simple of mistakes can cause a fire – or worse, result in personal tragedy. Even outside of home projects, knowing the signs of electrical danger is important, and with that in mind, in today’s article we present you with some great electrical safety tips.
Home Improvement Electrical Safety Tips
Before you begin any home improvement project that involves electrical work, ask yourself this question: am I a licensed electrician? If the answer to that question is no, then we strongly suggest you put down the tool belt and back slowly away from whatever work you are about to undertake. Calling in a professional to handle the electrical part of your DIY or remodeling job is smart for many reasons – if not just for safety alone!
Dress for the (Electrical) Job
Dressing for the job is about more than just making a fashion statement – no matter how good you might look in those overalls! Wearing the right clothing and protective gear while tackling a home improvement project is crucial to your well-being, especially if it involves electrical work. Wear shoes or boots with rubber heels and soles to help insulate your body against shock. A nice pair of high voltage electrician gloves also will go a long way toward absorbing any errant electricity.
Use Insulated Tools for Electrical Work
The tools you use for any home remodeling work (even those that may not involve electrical directly) should come equipped with insulated handles. Power tools should be UL-listed (Underwriters Laboratories) or bear the UL mark to ensure they meet compliancy and safety standards.
Of course, it should go without saying that you should also clean and properly maintain your tools. If your power drill is damaged or the charging cord is frayed, replace it – don’t just slap some tape on it!
Turn off the Circuit Breaker
Even if you are confident that your circuit breaker panel is labeled properly, it is best practice to go ahead and cut power to the whole house by flipping off the main breaker. Working on live circuits is a big no-no and is a real safety hazard. Don’t take the risk – flip the switch!
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are electrical devices that “monitor” electrical currents and shut them off the moment they detect even the most minute of changes. This protects you – and equipment – from electrical harm. If your home does not have a GFCI or ground fault circuit breaker, be sure to have one installed, even if you are not undertaking any home projects.
Call a Licensed Electrician
At the end of the day, calling in a licensed electrician to handle electrical work in your home is the safest – and best – thing to do. In addition to performing the job safely, an electrical contractor will do the job right – saving you from future issues and reducing your risk of electrical fire or power failure. In addition, an electrician can pull permits for you and offer tips and advice for energy efficiency that can help you save on your monthly energy bills.