Any homeowner who is not an electrician should not do their own electrical work. It is just common sense and a major safety issue. However, if you are particularly set on repairing or replacing some electrical work in your own home, here are five careful steps to doing the job correctly.
1. Buy an Electrical Current Tester
This handheld device allows you to check the current in an outlet to see if the current is still actively flowing. Sometimes when you think you have flipped the correct fuse to turn the power off, you find out that a particular outlet is connected to a different fuse. The power has to be switched off before you attempt any electrical work. You can buy this device at any hardware or home improvement store.
2. Find the Correct Fuse to Switch off the Power
If your fuses in the main electrical box are not labeled, you will have to have someone stand upstairs in the room to call out when the power is out in that room. Even so, use your electrical current tester to make sure that the outlet, switch, or ceiling light you want to work on has no current flow. If it does, you will have to repeat this process until you have ascertained that the power is definitely off.
3. Remove the Switch, Outlet, or Ceiling Fixture and Take a Picture
You have to have a point of reference for reconnecting wires. Since you are not an electrician, these pictures will help you recognize which wires are supposed to reconnect to various electrical posts and circuit connectors. Your cell phone is a big help here. After you take the outlet or switch out of the wall, or pull down the ceiling fixture, take a picture with your phone. Then continue to disconnect everything.
4. Read the Installation Instructions Carefully
Too many eager homeowners charge on through an electrical project without reading the instructions for their new ceiling fan or their kit to convert a two-plug outlet to four. That is dangerous. Read the instructions carefully. Look for the wires the instructions tell you to find. Use your picture on your phone to recognize which wires are which. Then proceed with the installation, checking and rechecking the instructions and the picture you took.
5. Turn the Power on, and Check the Current Flow
Turn the power back on, and check the fuses. Use your current tester to check outlets and wiring. There should be absolutely no sparking or arcing. Have someone stand in the same room as the electrical work you just did. If your helper notices arcing or sparking, turn the electricity off right away! If you cannot figure out what you did wrong, call an electrician or company like RDS ElectricShare