Common Mistakes People Make on DIY Home Renovation Projects
Whether you’re changing a switch or installing a junction box, safety is of paramount importance when working with electricity. While most people acknowledge the risks and dangers associated with electrical work and hire an electrician, some decide to work on their electrical needs themselves. However, when completing their electrical projects, people often commit avoidable errors, which lead to electrical installations not working the way they were intended to.
With years of experience in the electrical sector, Alberni Electric Ltd. has come across several challenges that could’ve been dodged had the client been aware of a few bits of information when working on electrical installations or repairs. To help you avoid these kinds of situations and reap the benefits of working on DIY electrical projects, we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes people make on DIY home renovation projects.
1. Not installing a junction box
Failing to install a junction box is perhaps the biggest mistake homeowners make. Also called an electrical box or connection box, these inexpensive devices protect electrical connections while containing sparks or heat should a short circuit occur. Installing a plastic or steel box adds a step when putting in a new outlet or light fixture, but the actual cost of the box is only a few dollars. Plus, accessible junction boxes are required by code in British Columbia.
2. Installing a box behind the drywall
Installing a junction box alone doesn’t guarantee safety. The box has to be properly fitted so that it’s even with the drywall. Otherwise, materials such as wood, which is combustible, are exposed to potential electrical sparks. If the junction box is recessed too far into the wall, your best bet is to use an inexpensive box extender.
3. Not leaving enough length on wires
This can be a real problem, as wires that are cut too short can cause poor connections and lead to dangerous situations such as electrical shorts or wires smoldering and burning. To avoid this issue, leave three to six inches of wire extending from the junction box. You’ll need a proper set of wire strippers to strip adequately, connect securely, and fold over within the box. If you’ve already cut them too short, it’s not too late. You can splice the wires using wire nuts to secure the extra length of wire and keep it contained within the junction box.
4. Leaving wiring open to mechanical damage
Not securing, strapping, or protecting wiring that’s exposed and below five inches is a risky proposition, and goes against Technical Safety BC’s electrical standards code. A conduit is the simplest solution to exposed wiring issues and is a low-priced fix. Not only does this solve the safety issue, but it looks much cleaner when done right.
5. Using the wrong sized wire for the job
Wires, like many other things, come in different sizes. These sizes are referred to as the wire’s “gauge.” Different gauge wires have different purposes, and the gauge also dictates the areas in which it should be used. Using the wrong sized wire can lead to wiring overheating or cause your breaker to trip. Therefore, it’s imperative to know which sized wire and devices to use and that they have the correct amperage for what you’re going to plug in.
6. Overloading outlets
Using power cords to plug multiple devices into an outlet can be handy, but also comes with a risk. If you’re using a power cord to plug in more devices than the breaker at the other end of that receptacle is rated for, you’ll end up with breakers overheating and tripping.
Power bars are easily purchased, so nobody thinks much about plugging in the air conditioner along with the TV or vacuum cleaner. But the math dictates how much an outlet can take before it can’t take anymore. An overloaded outlet can cause more than just a tripping breaker. It can start fires, or even give you a nasty shock.
To avoid these and other electrical mistakes, reach out to Alberni Electric Ltd. As leading residential and commercial electricians in Port Alberni, BC, we offer safe and quality electrical services to residential as well as commercial clients. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home or open up a salon or restaurant, we can efficiently fulfill all your electrical needs. From planning to execution to maintenance, we’ll take care of it all. Our services include service calls and repairs, upgrades and home improvements, new construction, and commercial projects. We serve clients across Port Alberni, Parksville, Errington, Qualicum Beach, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Ucluelet, Tofino, Bowser, and Nitinat Lake, British Columbia.