Do It Yourself Electrical Dangers
May is National Electrical Safety Month, and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is warning homeowners about the dangers of attempting to perform home electrical improvement and repair projects without hiring a licensed, qualified electrician.
"Working with electricity requires thorough planning and extreme care, and cutting corners can be a costly mistake," cautions ESFI president Brett Brenner. "Whether you are a first-time do-it-yourselfer or a 'weekend warrior,' practicing safe habits can prevent electrical fires, injuries, and fatalities when it comes to home electrical projects."
The U.S. home improvement market nearly doubled in size between 1995 and 2005, reaching a high of $280 billion a year, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Over the same period of time, emergency rooms reported ever increasing numbers of visits due to injuries from home workshop equipment. Many of these homeowners were critically injured while attempting to perform home electrical work themselves.
"May is National Electrical Safety Month and a great time to review electrical safety practices," says Brenner. "Many electrocutions and home electrical fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices."
The best way to protect your family and your home against the risk of electrical fires or electrocution is to hire a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home. If you do decide to undertake a home electrical project yourself, ESFI recommends considering the following important safety tips to help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you:
-Make an effort to learn about your home electrical system so that you are able to safely navigate and maintain it.
-Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities.
-Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
-Test the wires with a voltage meter before you touch them to make sure that the power has been turned off.
-Be sure to unplug any lamp or appliance before working on it.
-Use a GFCI with every power tool to protect against electrical shock hazards.
--Always have your work inspected upon completion to ensure that it has been done correctly