here are some jobs that everyone should pay a professional to do — like haircuts and legal defense. You can count most home electrical jobs in this category.
DIY projects can be very rewarding, but the vast majority of electrical jobs simply pose too much danger and risk for amateurs. You’ll spend plenty of time and money and still may end up with a botched job or an injury. Even on those home renovation reality TV shows, you’ll notice that the electrical work gets done by a separate person off-camera — a licensed electrician.
An old rule says that homeowners should leave everything to an electrician except perhaps changing a light switch or ceiling fan. Yet even those jobs require a bit of wiring and can be tricky for the inexperienced.
These 5 Electrical Jobs (and many others) Should Be Left to a Professional:
1. Breaker Panel Repairs & Upgrades
If you’re repairing a breaker because it trips too often or seems broken, there may be other electrical jobs required to fix an underlying problem. An electrician should investigate the situation. Also, changing or adding breakers involves some complex wiring. Incorrect breaker work can create serious danger for you and the entire electrical wiring system.
When you renovate or build an addition, you may be tempted to do the wiring yourself. Such electrical jobs should be left to an electrician even if it seems like a simple extension of the existing wiring. Potential problems include overloading the circuits or faulty wiring that poses a fire hazard. The new wiring will also need to pass an electrical inspection eventually.
3. Additional Outlets
Extra outlets can help you enjoy your home better after repurposing a room or rearranging furniture. But this is another one of those electrical jobs that requires wiring knowledge and proper safety. A professional can determine a safe way to add outlets on a new or existing circuit. When adding a GFCI outlet, it’s especially important to have it done professionally to make sure the outlets are protected.
4. Moving or Replacing Light Fixtures
As with outlets, lighting fixtures require new wiring or rewiring. Incorrectly replacing or adding a light fixture can cause breaker tripping, burnt out bulbs, fire risks, and electrical system damage.
5. Outdoor Lighting
Wiring power or lighting to the outdoors requires special grounding and safety precautions to weatherproof the system. Exposure to the elements makes outdoor electrical service a potential cause of home fires and injuries to pets and children.
Remember, an electrician is more than just somebody with fancy tools. Years of education, training and experience make a licensed electrician better equipped to handle electrical jobs safely and professionally. And those fancy tools are necessary, too.
If your project includes electrical jobs that you aren’t already comfortable performing yourself, call a professional. Better to keep your free time and avoid costly repairs later on!