If you don’t know how electricity works, what are safe electrical practices, and the risks of doing your own electrical work, DIY electrical work is a 100% no-no.
I am a licensed electrician in Ballarat, delivering electrical installation and maintenance services for over 25 years. For starters, let me just say that there is a reason why you are required to get a 4-year degree to become a certified electrician in Australia. After that you need to gain experience with a licensed electrical contractor (apprenticeship). During this time, you must work under the supervision of a senior qualified electrician who will ensure you are carrying out the work safely.
While it may be tempting to explore your DIY skills on a lazy Sunday afternoon, this may not be the wisest of things to do. Yes, it may save you money and give you an adrenaline rush looking at your DIY masterpiece, there are a lot of things that can go wrong before you get there.
This article will explore the top 6 DIY electrical work risks and what you should do instead. So without wasting any more of your time, let dive straight in:
Compromised personal safety and
Among the biggest dangers of DIY electrical work is the risk it poses to your physical safety. From minor burns to electrocution and house fires, electrical DIYs can be fatal.
Electrical burns can occur when there is a short circuit or when electrical equipment is mishandled.
Electrocution occurs when an electric current finds a human body to complete its circuit and reaches the ground. If you are an amateur, you are likely to work on a live circuit which can cause severe injury or even death.
Electrical faults are a leading cause of house fires, and DIY wiring only adds insult to the injury. When house fires are not quickly put out they may even result in the whole place blowing up, which can be even risky for the entire neighbourhood.
Reduced property integrity and resale value
DIY electrical work not only poses a risk to your safety but also affects the integrity and value of your property.
When wiring is done incorrectly it can end up damaging your appliances in case there is a power surge or short circuit.
Since you are no expert in handling electrical connections, the dodgy work performed may result in degrading your overall electrical system. Your house will have overloaded circuits that compromise the quality of electrical components. Your wiring will be more susceptible to natural factors and will corrode and wear out faster.
You may also stand ready to face buyers who would question the integrity of your home given its history of DIY electrical work. Such buyers would not be willing to pay a high price, which can result in devaluation of your property.
Legal trouble and financial loss
When you are doing your electrical work, you might not consider the legal and financial implications should something go wrong. The truth of the matter is that it can have a long-lasting impact on your immediate costs as well as future liabilities.
Non-compliance with Electrical Codes can result in huge fines and may even be a punishable offense depending upon the damage that has occurred as a result of it. You may be held liable for carrying out the work without proper permits, or you may be charged for injuries caused due to DIY electrical work.
It may also result in certain financial repercussions for the homeowner. One such implication includes paying a higher insurance premium, if the insurance company finds that unpermitted work has been carried out on the property. You will also be denied any insurance claims if a fire or any other incident occurs on the property as a result of your DIY electrical work. Last but not least is the cost of corrections that you will have to bear to redo the work and ensure it is now up to code.
Accidents due to missed safety protocols
While a licensed professional will ensure to follow all the safety protocols when doing highly dangerous electrical work, an amateur will try to cut corners at every step.
From the lack of proper tools whose purpose is to ensure precision and safety, to missing personal protective equipment (PPE) that ensures you don’t get injured while performing the work, the list goes on.
When doing your electrical work, you might also not be aware of lockout measures, which ensure that all electrical systems on which the work is being performed are properly shut down before you begin.
There is a good chance that you have not tested the circuit to ensure that it’s dead before you work and test again to check if all open circuits have been closed once the work is done. There is also a chance of overloading the circuit, which is also something that needs to be tested to avoid potential fires.
Complexity of modern electrical systems
With the advent of advanced technologies and home automation, modern electrical systems have become increasingly complex. This means that no matter how pro you are at your everyday DIY tasks, your skills might still not suffice.
Advanced wiring has complex circuits, higher safety standards, and a greater need to be compatible with energy-efficient devices such as timed switches and dimmer controls.
Moreover, integrated smart home systems can have hardware and software compatibility and interconnectivity issues when the setup is not done correctly.
These modern electrical systems might also require specialized equipment to carry out installation and testing, which a DIYer may not have.
Hidden costs of DIY electrical work
While the core temptation behind DIY work is the costs you will save by not calling a professional to do it, you might end up paying more in the long run.
For starters, you would be spending time on a DIY job that you could otherwise spend on something more productive and profitable. You will have to learn how to do it, go through trial and error, and end up performing slower being an amateur. All of which adds up to unnecessary loss of time.
As an inexperienced person, you will also end up wasting resources on the job. There is a good chance that the supplies you have brought are either, less or more. There is also a chance that there may be things that are incorrect in terms of compatibility or functionality. You might not use your supplies most efficiently and end up damaging or wasting them. Also, consider what are you going to do with the unused material that is now just lying around in the house, once the job is done.
Last, but not least, one of the most important hidden costs you will encounter is the cost to get it re-done by a professional.
You will not just pay to get the electrical fix that you started, but you will also pay to correct the damage you did during your DIY. This would cost you more than what you could have paid by hiring a professional in the first place.
DIY electrical work is like no routine home improvement task. It comes with a series of safety and financial risks and even those that could potentially land you in legal trouble.
When you do your electrical work you put your safety and that of your house, and those in it, at a great risk. You end up wasting, time, resources, and money. You unnecessarily put yourself face to face with the law for violating building codes, and safety guidelines, and knowingly putting your and others’ lives at risk.
Always remember to engage a licensed professional to carry out any electrical work inside or around your property. They are certified individuals or companies with years of experience in all sorts of electrical installations and maintenance tasks.
At MJE, we offer electrical installations, upgrades, and complete solutions to ensure your home’s electrical system is always safe, compliant, and up-to-date. Our team of electricians will treat your home with care and will do everything to provide you with a great service experience.
Call us today at 03 4333 9117 for an obligation-free quote or fill out the Contact Us form on our website to tell us how we may help you.
Until then, stay safe and avoid any DIY electrical work. Remember, it is not worth the risk!