DIY Electrics: The Dangers
Thinking of saving a few pounds by going on an electrical project? Do yourself a favour and don’t. DIY electrical work is dangerous and is simply not worth the meagre savings. Don’t believe us? Have a look at the possible errors you can commit and see what could happen when you make those errors.
People who are unskilled at electrical work are at risk of committing a number of common errors, and many of them seem simple. These include the following:
- Incorrect bulb wattage
You’d think that replacing a light bulb is simple enough, but putting in a lamp with the wrong wattage could lead to an electrical fire.
- Improper use of electrical wire
Not all wires are made equal. There are Romex wires (the non-metallic sheathed kind), single strand wires, and all other sorts of lines and cables. Because of this, you can’t just put any wire on any electrical system. But since you don’t know the difference, your DIY project is a massive short circuit waiting to happen.
- Faulty installation of switches and outlets
To the untrained, switch and outlets are complex. Imagine having to figure out which wire is neutral or earth, then splicing the correct cables together. Because of this, any attempt to install such systems could lead to errors, a short circuit, or even an electrical fire.
- Wrong fuse size or amperage
A fuse is a safety device that breaks the circuit if the current running through it goes above what is considered safe. If the wrong fuse is put in (e.g. the amateur puts in a larger fuse, thinking it can handle higher currents), it could be a fire hazard.
Unlike other safer DIY home projects, electrical work has a number of harsh consequences that can cost dearly to you and your family.
If you make a mistake in your DIY electrical project, you could get electrocuted. A minor jolt means you’re lucky because serious instances of electrocution cause deep burns (high-voltage shocks can lead to internal injury), nerve damage that affects control over your lungs and heart, and ventricular fibrillation, which can be lethal. What’s more, someone attempting to help you through touch would also get electrocuted. If a big jolt doesn’t stop your organs it can indeed cook skin, muscles and nerves leaving permanent and irreversible damage.
As mentioned several times earlier, an electrical fire is one of the possible consequences of DIY electrical work. Simple mistakes like installing the wrong kind of bulb or using the incorrect wire can lead to electrical fires. Unlike regular fires, it’s dangerous to use water for extinguishing the flames because it would conduct the electricity and electrocute anyone nearby who gets wet. The scary part is that the vast majority of households are not prepared for electrical fires and can’t put out the beginnings of the fires themselves without making it worse.
- Financial loss
If you survive the fire and electrocution, you have to deal with the financial loss as well. Remember that un-certified electrical work is against the law so individuals guilty of this can face severe fines, while companies can be penalised a whole lot more. You can also end up serving a prison sentence! If your violation causes deaths, you’ll have to deal with larger penalties and a lengthier prison term.