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When to DIY & When to Call an Electrician

Sometimes, attempting more complex repairs can have a very negative impact on your home, leading to detrimental effects which will then need a professional to be called in, ending up at a higher expense than if you called professional electrical contractors from Melbourne in the first place!

Learning to change a wire or replacing a light switch can be rewarding if you’re learning as you go.

image - When to DIY & When to Call an Electrician
When to DIY & When to Call an Electrician

Whereas, activities such as pulling up breaker box work or rewiring electrical circuits may not be such a good idea without the help of a professional, and can quickly turn into a disaster if you are not careful!

Here, we will discuss which projects can be carried out as a DIY and which should not be attempted without a professional’s help.

When to DIY

These can be classed as the ‘simpler’ jobs. If you are practical, have experience, and you own the correct tools, then a professional’s help is not necessarily needed.

These easily DIY’d jobs tend to only require a few tools which are commonly found in most households.

Although these jobs are more basic; safety is always important. Before beginning an electrical job, make sure that the power is turned off at the mains, also ensuring all wires are screwed in securely in place to avoid a fire hazard.

If you feel unsure, confused, or in danger at any time whilst carrying out any of these electrical tasks, then it would be best to call a local emergency electrician, who will always be on-hand to help and prevent any damage to the electrics.

1. Replacing A Light Switch

Light switches are functional items in the home, but many of the basic varieties can look plain and dull. Replacing these with a different type of light switch can make a huge improvement to the aesthetics of the home.

After switching off the mains power, simply write down exactly how the old switch was wired before you disconnect it, and wire the new switch in the same way.

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2. Replacing A Light Fixture

This quick and simple task is generally a universal process, meaning you can purchase a new fixture and install it with no hassle.

First, turn off the power to the old fixture, remove the canopy to expose the wiring and fixture hardware. Once this is done, unscrew the black, white, and copper wires.

Then, remove the old light fixture, which is usually held on by a couple of screws. You may be required to install a new bracket, which is a place to mount the new light fixture, these will usually come with the new light fixture.

After doing so, connect the new fixture wires by twisting them onto the ends of the existing wires, then secure the new fixture and turn on the power to see if it is working.

If it is not, then the wires most likely are not connected properly. If this is the case, then turn the power back off and try connecting them again.

3. Rewiring A Broken Lamp

If you have a faulty lamp, it can be easily repaired. The bulb, plug, and cord are inexpensive parts and easy to replace, as is installing a new light socket.

Firstly, disconnect the power by pulling the socket out of the wall. Then, ensure it is not the bulb that has blown by replacing it and turning the lamp back on.

If it is still not working, you may need to replace the wire inside the lamp. This can be done by purchasing a new cord and replacing the old one.

To calculate how much cord you need to buy (Type SPT), measure the length of the cord, including the cord inside the lamp, and add around 1 foot for slack.

4. Replacing an Electrical Outlet

Sometimes electrical outlets can become unsightly with ground-in dirt, outdated, or just not fit with the color scheme of your home anymore, so replacing them is the only solution.

When removing the old electrical outlet, it is important the power is turned off. Next, remove the cover of the outlet and unscrew the screws to remove the outlet from the box, and then pull it away.

Then remove the wires from the old outlet by unscrewing the screws slightly, until you can remove the wires.

Then it is time to install the new electrical outlet. Here, it is important to find the grounding wire (either green colored or bare copper) and wrap this wire around the grounding screw at the back of the box. Then install the wires to the news outlet:

  • White wire to the silver
  • Black wire to the brass
  • Ground wire to grounding screw at the back of the box and then to the green screw on the outlet.

Now you can screw the outlet into the wall by carefully pushing it back into the box and rescrewing the outlet back into place with the new cover.

When to Call An electrician

The majority of electrical work should be carried out by a professional, even if you are feeling competent in your abilities to DIY, building and electrical codes, as well as general safety, are important points to beware of.

Failing to follow building codes may render your insurance invalid or even leave you liable if any of the electrics were to become faulty or cause a fire.

Therefore, licensed electricians with the knowledge of electrical codes will be able to carry out their work and comply with these rules, keeping both you and your home safe.

Below are some of the most common electrical jobs that should only be handled by a licensed electrician.

1. Electrical Panel or Breaker Box Work

Carrying out work on electrical panels or breaker boxes maybe something that older homes or homes with tripping power supplies need.

It is important to get these old or faulty electrics replaced as they can cause fires in the home. It is not advised to carry out this type of work as a DIY job due to the severity of the job as you are working with live electricity.

So, here it is advised to call in a licensed electrician.

2. Rewiring Parts or All of The Home

Electrical rewiring can be necessary if your home has not been rewired for 25+ years and wiring needs upgrading, if you are planning remodeling work, or if you are building an extension or a conversion.

Licensed electricians are vital when rewiring the home, as it will involve cutting, drilling, and running wires, and also drilling holes into walls.

This type of job can be very dangerous if you are not one-hundred percent confident in electrics.

3. Electrical Code Correction

If you are buying or selling a home, it is important to ensure that it is up to code. This involves getting a report which checks the electrical codes, such as wiring mistakes, exposed wires, faulty circuit breakers, and so on.

If you are in need of an electrical safety inspection or code correction, then you need to hire a licensed electrician who will provide a thorough inspection as they will have knowledge of the current electrical codes and experience in finding anything that is not compliant.

4. Installing New Circuits or Dedicated Circuits

Jobs such as installing new circuits or a dedicated circuit (a circuit that feeds a specific appliance, e.g. the oven) and these works must comply with building and electrical codes.

As well as this, you are going to be working with live wires, which could result in harm if you are not completely competent in what you are doing.

So, Are You Going to DIY Or Call in A Professional?

Simple DIY electrical jobs are suitable for more simple jobs. Whereas, it is advised for any major electrical work to be carried out by a licensed electrician, as it must comply with building and electrical codes.

This ensures that homes are running at a safe standard. If you do decide to carry out electrical work by yourself, you must notify building control before the work begins.

This involves an extra fee for someone to inspect the work.