Ideally, leaving electrical repairs to a qualified and licensed electrician is important for your home’s safety, long-term cost savings, and legal compliance. ElectriCall LLC is one of the few certified companies capable of providing the best repairs in Arvada, CO. Alternatively, you can also search for electrical companies in the Denver area. Nonetheless, there are some simple electrical repairs you can do yourself with little knowledge of electrical basics.
Doing your own simple electrical repairs saves you time and money and gives you the confidence you need to take on more challenging repairs. However, remember that you must be knowledgeable before doing any of these.
This post will take you through electrical wiring and installations you can do as a beginner. But first, we’ll learn about the basics of electricity, safety precautions, and tools you should have.
Fundamentals of Electricity
Electricity is dangerous to work with in ignorance. Something as simple as changing a light fixture is potentially fatal since the voltage that powers your home is enough to kill you.
Excess of caution is your first line safety mechanism. A short electricity course is an excellent idea if you wish to do your own electrical jobs.
Learn about the types of current carried by different wires, the color codes, as well as the carrying capacity of the cables. You should also be in a position to differentiate volts, amperes, ohms, watts, and many other relevant units.
Teach yourself about conductors and non-conductors and understand the concept of grounding and earth wires.
Most important, learn about how to work with electricity safely.
Tools for Basic Electrical Repair Projects
Basic electrical repair jobs involve a lot of measuring, cutting, twisting wires together, and screwing in or out. Different tools can help with these functions, but specialty tools work better and are safer as they feature insulated handles to prevent accidental electrocution.
Here are the tools you need for simple electrical repairs:
· Voltage tester
· Tape measure
· Fish tape
· Wire strippers and wire cutters
· Utility knife
· Linesman pliers and needle nose pliers
Safety Precautions when Doing Electrical Repairs
Take these safety precautions seriously when doing electric repairs to eliminate the risk of accidental electrocution or damage to property. The primary objective of these precautions is to have a barrier between you and the live wire so that you do not accidentally complete an electric circuit. The best barriers are made of non-conductive material.
Here are the safety precautions you must observe when handling electrical circuits:
· Ensure that the power is switched off before you begin working and stays off as you work. As an extra precaution, remove the fuse and keep it in your pocket so that no one can turn on the power accidentally.
· Assume that the wires, apparatus, and outlets are live until you prove otherwise. Always confirm otherwise first using the voltage tester.
· Always use appropriate tools for any task. Dedicated electricians’ tools come with inbuilt safety mechanisms. Also, use quality and genuine electrical products. Knock-offs come off cheap but, in the end, may be disastrous.
· Wear protective gear. Gloves and shoes are excellent insulators and provide extra protection against the sharp tools you have to work with.
· Electricity and water are a dangerous mix. Always keep your working area dry to avoid the risk of electric shock.
· Do not undertake a repair project you have no idea how to do. Winging it puts yourself, others, and property at risk.
If in Denver, CO, an online search for the ‘best electrician near me’ or ‘residential electrician near me’ will bring up a list of qualified and reputable electrical companies.
Guide to Basic Electrical Repairs you can do as a Beginner
Here is a detailed guide to the most common electrical repairs you need not call an electrician for:
Changing Light Fixtures
Light fixtures include chandeliers, pendants, ceiling lights, wall lights, downlights, and floor lights. However, the most common is the light bulb, to which we turn our attention.
The obvious way to know you need to change your light bulb is when it won’t light. However, you should also change them when the light is dimmer than usual or when they flicker. Often the problem is with the bulb, though it may be with the switch or wiring too.
You may need only a flashlight if you are working in the dark.
i. Switch off the power from the mains.
ii. Let the bulb cool down if it has been alight. Bulbs generate enough heat to burn you if you handle them immediately
iii. If the bulb is out of reach, step onto a sturdy ladder or use an extended light bulb changing pole.
iv. Unscrew the bulb from its socket in an anti-clockwise way. Do not hold it too tight as it is delicate and can shatter in your hands.
v. Screw the new bulb clockwise. Remember, anti-clockwise to remove, clockwise to install.
vi. Switch the light back on. If it doesn’t light, check that you have installed it correctly. Or check for a possible fault with the electrical circuit.
Other types of light fixtures have a bulb behind a cover. You remove this cover first and replace the bulb in a more or less similar way as described here.
Replacing Switches and Outlets
You should change old or damaged switches and outlets as soon as possible as they are risky to life and property. Also, change to update them, particularly if the outlets are two-pronged rather than three-pronged.
You should change your switches and socket outlets if:
· Wall switches and socket outlets are older than 20 years.
· Switches and outlets are hot when in use and have scorch marks.
· Switches and outlets are loose and wobbly, hanging off the wall, and don’t hold plugs properly.
· Lights or appliances delay starting, work in cycles, or there is a hum in the switch or outlet.
· Crackles and sparks when the switch or outlet is turned on.
Always replace the switch or outlet with the most updated product.
Follow this procedure to change the switch or outlet:
i. Turn off the power at the main switch and ensure it cannot be turned back on accidentally. You can use a voltage tester to confirm no power is flowing in the circuit.
ii. Remove the cover of the old switch/outlet by unscrewing it with a screwdriver, then carefully pull out the switch/outlet from the box.
iii. Note how the wires are laid out. Typically, there is one black wire, which is hot, one white neutral wire, and one green or bare copper wire, which is the grounding wire. If the switch/outlet is in the middle circuit, it will have two white wires.
iv. Disconnect the wires from the old switch/outlet by loosening them from the terminals.
v. Trim off the ends of the wire with a wire cutter so that you have a clean end for reconnection. Be careful not to snip off too much
vi. Make sure the new outlet is up to code before reconnecting the wires. The electricity code in many jurisdictions requires all new outlets to be tamper-proof (marked TR) to prevent accidental shock to children who stick objects into them.
vii. Reconnect the wires to the new switch/outlet guided by the manufacturer’s instructions. Black cables match with the brass terminal, then feed the white wire to the silver terminal and the green or bare grounding wire to the green terminal.
viii. Bend the tips of the wires with needle nose pliers to hook around the terminals. Tighten with a screwdriver.
ix. Tag gently to ensure they are tight, and wrap them with tape at each connection.
x. Bend the extra length of the wire to fit into the box and screw the new switch/outlet back in place.
xi. Turn on the switch at the mains and test the new installation.
Please engage a qualified electrician if you have read these instructions and find them hard to follow. Alternatively, search for ‘electricians near me’ in Denver, CO to bring up Arvada electricians.
· Installing Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a plus money saver in both summer and winter. In the summer, fans circulate cool air around the house and air from central heating in the winter. As a result, your home requires less energy to heat or cool.
Installing a fan is an inexpensive electrical improvement that adds value to your home and one that you can undertake yourself.
All you need is a fan, a ladder, a toolbox, and a few hours. You should also know that straining upwards and looking up for 2-4 hours may leave you sore, but you will undoubtedly appreciate the fruits of your labor.
Here is how you install a ceiling fan:
i. As always, turn the power off and take precautions so that no one can turn it on accidentally.
ii. Remove the light fixture by unscrewing the feature that holds it to the ceiling. As you work, ensure that the fixture is held up by something other than the wires.
iii. Detach the wires by removing the plastic caps that hold them together.
iv. Install a new ceiling box since the typical ceiling box is not sturdy enough to bear the weight of a ceiling fan. Ensure you attach the fan to a ceiling box with the right ratings to sustain the weight of the fan.
v. Trace the shape and size of the new ceiling box on the ceiling and cut around it. Hold the box against the ceiling and fasten it stoutly with the screws provided. Next, thread the wires through the knock-out hole in the box.
vi. Wire the fan through the fan box by following the instructions in the installation manual that came with the fan. Usually, you wire it in the same way as the light fixture. Then securely attach the canopy.
vii. Attach the fan blades as instructed by the manual.
viii. Many fans have a slot to attach the light fixture wiring as usual.
ix. Turn the power on to test your installation.
Remember that fans differ, and your best guide is the instruction manual that comes with it.
House wiring jobs in Denver, CO, are best undertaken by a qualified and licensed electrician. You will need certification for various purposes as to the soundness of the home wiring system. Only a licensed electrician can provide that.
Of the many electrical installation and repair jobs that you can DIY, changing the light bulb and replacing switches and outlets can be done safely by beginners. You can take on more complex repair projects as your skills and confidence grow.
In the meantime, engage the services of a qualified electrician in Arvada, CO, to handle the trickier repair jobs for you.