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Making A Few Home Upgrades? 2 DIY Electrical Mistakes You Will Regret

After binge-watching reality home improvement shows, you might feel like repainting a room, replacing a light fixture, or updating that kitchen backsplash. Unfortunately, while most novices are capable of painting or laying a little tile, updating electrical fixtures, wires, and panels requires the finesse of a seasoned professional. Here are two DIY electrical mistakes you might regret later and why:

1: Failure To Get A Building Permit

You are just moving that outlet to another wall, so why would you go through the hassle of filing paperwork and waiting for the city to approve your choice? After all, since it is your house, shouldn't renovation decisions be your choice? However, although basic electrical renovations might not seem like a huge undertaking, your city officials might have a thing or two to say about it.

The fact of the matter is that permits are required to protect you, your home, your neighborhood, and the city power grid. If you update your panel or run additional lines, your home could pull more power than it should, which could spark a fire or disrupt the power allocation for your area. Since most cities have complex contracts with power companies, permits can help the city to assess liability if an accident were to happen. For example, if you move around a few wires without a permit and your actions cause a fire, authorities would need to determine who is at fault so they can decide who should pay for the incident. Unfortunately, if you skipped the permit process, you might be on the hook for the damages.

For this reason, most municipalities require building permits every time you construct, alter, enlarge, remove, repair, or replace any gas, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical system that is part of your home. If you get caught renovating your home without a building permit, the city might issue a stop order for the work and demand that you return the property to its original condition—even if you are completely finished with the project. In addition to tearing down your new system and restoring the old one, you might also be fined for your mistake.

To ward off trouble, always work with a professional electrical contractor if you need to renovate your electrical system. Although you might balk at the $50-$100 per hour cost of working with a pro, it might save you a lot of time and money.  

2: Replacing Fuses With Larger Versions

Your electrical panel has safeguards in place, but that doesn't mean that your family will see them that way. When you are in the middle of running your vacuum cleaner or microwaving a little dinner, the last thing you probably want to deal with is a tripped electrical breaker. To keep breakers from tripping, some homeowners decide to simply upgrade their breaker fuses. Once the power stops cutting out, you might feel like you have resolved the issue—but that isn't the case.

Wires can overheat when they are forced to carry too much current, which is why your circuit breakers are designed to switch off when they are overloaded. If you install a larger fuse instead of the version recommended for your panel, it acts as an override—allowing more current to flow through your panel. Unfortunately, it might only be a matter of time until that current is too much for those wires. Over time, the wires can become worn and brittle, causing power glitches, flickering lights, or bad smells. If the wires are continually subjected to excess current, they can start a fire that might overtake your entire home.

Fortunately, professional electricians can conduct a load assessment to determine how much power each section of your home needs. Electricians can also upgrade your entire panel the right way, without simply adjusting the fuses.

By doing the smart thing and working with a professional electrician, you might be able to protect your home and family. 

For more information and assistance, contact your local residential electrician or visit websites like http://aaaeinc.com/.


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