Electrical DIY Don’ts

So, you have purchased a home and are ready to do some updates. We all plan and execute projects trying to save a little here and there. Your house feels more like a home after you put your own hard work into it. Some DIY projects are easier than others and Electrical DIY projects rate from simple  to extremely complicated. Here is a list of common Electrical DIY projects often seen online that you should NOT attempt:

  • Work outside of your knowledge base. Many home projects seem self-explanatory, but there are some that have a lot of science the untrained eye doesn’t see. Don’t trust YouTube, Pinterest, or the guy at the hardware store for training, it’s way too easy to get hurt.
  • Installing a light fixture without an electrical box. Electrical boxes are designed to contain fire or sparks that could potentially arise. In most cases, not having an outlet box behind a light fixture is a poor installation that could have hazardous results.
  • Installing a standard receptacle where GFCI protection is needed. GFCI protection is required in some locations to help protect equipment and people from electrical shocks.
  • Install a chandelier over your bathtub or in your closet. While it may look nice, there are some legitimate safety concerns. There are few limited circumstances where this idea is legal and safe.
  • Replacing your old 2 prong outlets with new 3 prong outlets. Finally, you’ll be able to plug in all those cords and appliance. Not to mention new outlets and plates give a nice, refreshed look to an older home. You can’t however simply take the old ones out and put the new ones in. You will need an equipment ground attached to the new receptacle. Odds are, that the old 2 prong outlet didn’t have one and doesn’t need one. With an improper upgrade, you are missing a critical safety feature designed to protect you from being shocked!
  • Upgrading your service or your electrical panel. This is a job best done by electricians. There are permits that need to be pulled, inspections that need to be passed, and everything needs to work right at the end of the job. Your home and safety rely on it!
  • Installing Smart Switches is a task that seems easier than it is. Most smart switches require a neutral connection and there is no guarantee of a neutral in any switchbox. Also, due to the electronic components within the switch, if it is wired improperly, it may cause the switch to be damaged. This task is better left to professionals.
  • Finishing a basement? Planning and wiring a finished basement is a big task. Logical circuit planning is required, as well as a lighting plan. If you miss something and discover it after drywall is installed, fixing that problem is not going to be easy! This job is best left to those who do it on the daily.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has some informative safety tips for DIYers here:


For Homeowners: Read about our home safety inspection here

We want you to be safe. Know your limits and don’t compromise safety to save money.