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10 Home Wiring Safety Tips

By Karin Mangan
10 Home Wiring Safety Tips

<>Home wiring is not a do-it-yourself task that should be undertaken unless you are confident you know what you are doing. No matter how often you may have carried out home wiring jobs, never forget the dangers of electricity and never be tempted to take risks by failing to take precautions or use the proper tools or protection. Preparation is key to safety. The following safety tips can guide you to make sure your home wiring project goes smoothly and safely.

  1. Power off. Before doing any electrical work, make sure the power is off at the breaker. Leave a note to say you are working on the circuit and tape the circuit breaker into the off position.
  2. Test. Use a voltage tester to make sure wires or electrical connections are dead before working with them.
  3. Take care what you touch. Never touch plumbing or gas pipes while working with electricity--they are often used to ground electrical systems.
  4. Plan ahead. Always work to a plan so that you know exactly where the outlets, switches, and fixtures are going to be placed before you begin. This also allows you to check that you've got the appropriate tools and materials in sufficient quantities.
  5. The right tools. Make sure you've got all the tools you need, and always use the appropriate tools. You need, at a minimum:
    • Long-nose (needle-nose) pliers
    • Wire cutters
    • Electric drill
    • Fish tape
    • Cable stripper
    • Wire stripper (never use a knife instead)
    • Colored tape
    • Voltage tester
    • Continuity tester
    • Right-angle drill (which you can rent)
  6. The right materials. Depending on your project, the necessary materials can include:
    • Grounded receptacles
    • Switches
    • Junction boxes
    • Nail guards
    • Wire connectors
    • Electrical staples
    • Push terminals
    • Breakers
    • Track lights and fittings
    • Dimmer switch
    • Waterproof junction boxes
    • Ground fault interrupters
    • Conduit
    • Cable
    • Silicon caulking
  7. Include a junction box. Never splice wires together and conceal them within a wall without a junction box--an accessible junction box should always be used to join wires.
  8. Replace old wires. Always replace wires that show signs of deterioration or fraying.
  9. Fix any fuse/breaker problems. Before replacing a fuse or circuit breaker, correct the problem that caused it to blow.
  10. Don't overload. Overloaded outlets or extension cords can create a fire hazard.

If in doubt, consult a detailed reference book or get a specialist contractor in to do the work. A reputable electrician understands all aspects of home wiring and may be able to wire your home safely in less time than it takes you to learn!

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