Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Is It Wise To Do Your Own Electrical Repair Work?

 In today's world of extensive use of the internet, Do-It-Yourself books, tutorials, videos and website are at the palm of our hands. This has generated a significant level of confidence among internet users that they can do almost everything by keenly following the guidelines provided in DIY materials. Well, some DIY methods of tackling common household problems are safe and can be considered efficient and more economical than calling a professional. However, other tasks require professional skills and experience. Electrical repairs fall in this category and require strict observance of safety rules.

Safety and accuracy are the two key aspects of electrical repair work. Electrical problems are situations that any one can face at any time. When you are in that situation, it is important to consider the two aspects before deciding on whether to grab your tools or call a professional electrician. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I have the required skills and tools to safely carry out the repair? If not, can I get them easily? Will I carry out the repairs thoroughly and comprehensively just as a qualified electrician would do?

If you are confident and comfortable with a 'yes' answer to the above questions, go ahead and do it.

Remember to follow the strict safety guidelines below:

- Make sure you fully understand your current electrical system: its limitations and potential hazards
- Turn off the power at the main switch
- Test wires before you start working on them to be sure that power has been turned off
- Do not touch gas and plumbing pipes when doing the electrical repairs
- Ensure that the floor is completely dry; never stand on damp floor
- Unplug any appliance before working on it

Even with such high level of confidence in Do-It-Yourself electrical repair work, there is a still a high probability that you will make the following common mistakes:

1. Replacing a fuse:
You may realise that a fuse continues to blow each time you replace it. You even think that replacing it with a larger fuse will solve the problem. However, this is a very costly mistake. How? The larger fuse can cause the wire to overheat and consequently cause a fire. The main cause of the fuse blowing is not the fuse itself, but a problem with the circuit wiring. You must have detailed knowledge to successfully complete any electrical repair.

2. Not understanding the age of the property:
Older property usually have ground wires at outlet locations and switches. While doing a repair, you may use a grounded outlet receptacle to replace an outdated two prong outlet. You cover the plate and think you are safe. This is not right. If a short circuit occurs the plate could get energized and cause deadly consequences.

3. Using the wrong size of wire:
Electrical wire is available in varying gauges and thickness. Using a wire of the wrong size can cause damage to your property. For example a wrong sized wire in the circuit can cause it to overheat and before the circuit breaker gets a chance to indicate that something is wrong, the wire has stopped working. The circuit breaker is then unable to protect other components of the circuit and the whole system gets damaged so badly that you spend a lot of money fixing the problem.

The danger of making electrical mistakes stretches further in the fact that electricity is invisible. You might finish your repair work and think that everything is alright not knowing that a mistake you did somewhere in the circuit is smoldering a fire.

As we have seen, doing electrical repair work yourself to save money and time may more often than not lead to even more damage apart from risking loss of lives and property. It is therefore safer to hire a qualified electrician, who has undergone the relevant training and gained experience in safely handling electrical problems. When you hire such a professional you are sure of the following four things:

1. Safety

This is the first and most important concern when dealing with electricity. How many seconds does it take for someone to die when electrocuted? Doing electrical repairs by yourself could result in such and other accident like fires. Qualified electricians understand the necessary steps to take and tests to do before handling electrical wiring for they have to ensure their safety first. This is what they do everyday, unlike any other person who may not be 100% sure of the necessary steps. They also come with the required tools and protective gear. A professional electrician will ensure that the repairs he does in your electrical system will not cause any fire.

2. Respect for law

The Singapore government through municipalities requires property owners to contract reputable electrical work companies when building their property. There are building codes that every property owner must abide to before being given a building permit. In addition, it is a legal requirement that every electrical work, may it be installation, repair or maintenance be carried out by a licensed professional. Failure to follow such regulation could cause a home owner to be fined or imprisoned, especially if the electrical system caused injuries and damages to other people.

3. Saving on cost

When you hire a highly qualified electrician, the electric problems are comprehensively solved and you need not hire another technician to fix subsequent problems. Though reputable electricians may charge a higher fee for their services to compensate for the inherent risks they take, they do quality work. Spending less money to hire an unqualified person will only cause you to spend even more money on hiring the right electrician for the job as the unqualified one provides substandard repair services and advice you to buy the wrong material. It is even more costly as faults caused by an unqualified person can lead to damage of property which would cause you to spend a lot of money on the property.

4. Insurance

Since qualified electricians are licensed, they are supposed to pay insurance premiums. This insurance is very important because the home owner is not held responsible in case there is an accident or some tools get lost. The insurance covers the electricians when they are in their line of duty. That is another reason why licensed electricians charge higher service fees.

In conclusion, it is critical for home owners to be able to distinguish between electrical repairs that they are qualified to undertake and those that require the skills of a professional electrician. For the purpose of safety, it is wiser to hire a professional electrician to handle all electrical repair work.