You’re not a doctor, but you still take care of your health in between doctor visits. In some ways, electrical repairs are similar. Homeowners can take care of some simple repairs and replacements on their own. With the right tools, you can DIY simple electrical repairs before calling an electrician.
Electrical repairs that homeowners can attempt themselves include replacing a light switch, fixing a loose outlet, repairing a broken door bell, or installing a ceiling fan. If you need electrical repairs beyond that realm — or if you discover that working with wiring causes some jitters — be safe and call a professional.
Basic Supplies to Have Ready
First, some of your common household supplies and simple tools can help with basic electrical repairs. In your toolbox or nearby, keep a spare supply of duct tape and electrical tape, a tape measure, and a flashlight. Some tools you probably own will help, too — insulated work gloves, various sized screwdrivers, hex keys (an Allen wrench), and needle-nosed pliers.
Tools to Own for Electrical Repairs
When the lights go off or an outlet dies, your first step as the homeowner should be an attempt to troubleshoot the problem. If it’s something you can fix yourself, great! If not, you will still be glad to know the extent of the issue. Most of the tools below cost less than $20, so they are worth owning.
Before you begin electrical repairs or call a professional electrician, these tools will help you test for problems:
- Circuit Tester. Check whether an outlet is receiving power. When an appliance won’t turn out, this helps verify if the outlet is dead or if the appliance is broken. Also helps verify that you have shut off the circuit breaker for a location.
- Voltmeter or Multimeter: Tests power at the circuit breaker, as well as batteries and other sources of power.
And if you are going to attempt home electrical repairs, here are the tools and supplies you need:
- Safety Glasses. Never cut wires or drill into walls without protecting your eyes.
- Insulated Screwdrivers. Protect yourself when working on a light switch or outlet, and use for installing a ceiling fan, a new outlet receptacle, or any other electrical repairs that call for a screwdriver.
- Linemen’s pliers. This versatile tool can be used to cut wires as well as grip, twist or crimp wires.
- Wire stripper. This tool safely removes the insulation around wires without damaging the interior.
Rule of thumb: don’t just “make do” with the tools you have. For example, if your pliers cut wires poorly, don’t just cover it up with electrical tape. That results in loose, frayed wires with a potential fire hazard. When your electrical repairs hit a roadblock, go to the hardware store or call a professional for a real solution.
If you ever get in over your head with DIY electrical repairs, the smart decision for your safety and the best results is always to call a local electrician. We have all the right tools for electrical repairs and the know-how to get the job done quickly and precisely.