Electrical repairs: DIY versus professional
Depending on what sparked your need for an electrical repair, you might be wondering if you can DIY a solution or whether you need to call a professional. If the fix just means changing a lightbulb or resetting the breaker, sure, go ahead! However, if your problem requires potentially exposing yourself to a live current, the job is probably best left to an electrical repair service. There’s a reason electricians are rigorously trained and licensed — the job can be dangerous.
Common electrical repairs
One of the biggest threats of electrical problems isn’t just a loss of power — shoddy wiring and overloaded circuits can cause a serious risk of fire. Keeping your home safely connected means protecting your belongings, yourself and your loved ones. Some signs of common electrical repairs that might be needed in your home:
1. Lighting problems
Do you often find yourself in the dark because your light bulbs flicker, dim or burn out frequently? That could mean you have a poor connection in your wiring.
2. Dead or too few outlets
If you have outlets in your home that you no longer use, you could have a poor connection, a wiring problem or a tripped breaker. Additionally, if you find yourself reliant on power strips or extension cords, that’s probably a sign you need to add outlets to your home.
Safety alert: Never try to plug a three-prong device into a two-prong outlet and consider updating any outlets near water to GFCI — ground-fault circuit interrupter — outlets, which will protect you from shock.
3. Tripped breakers
If you feel like you constantly have to reset your breaker, it probably means you have an overloaded circuit. Modern electronics draw a lot of power — combine today’s technology with an older electrical system and you’re almost guaranteed to overload your circuits.
Historic home alert: If you live in an older abode, you might also have electrical components that don’t meet modern codes hiding behind the walls of your house. Outdated knob-and-tube wiring, for example, was common around the turn of the century through the 1930s. Another example is aluminum wiring, which was popular in the 1960s and ‘70s in place of copper and is no longer used today. An additional hazard of houses with history can be shoddy DIY electrical work done by prior residents trying to save a buck. If you suspect that any of these problems are hiding behind your home’s walls, contact a pro ASAP.
4. Warm outlets, electronics or appliances
If your fridge seems to be on fire or your outlets overheating, it could be another sign of faulty, worn out or damaged wiring. Sparks would be another strong indication that you’re in need of home electrical repair service.
Appliance advice: Older household appliances tend to draw more electricity and therefore have poorer energy efficiency. Consider upgrading to newer, efficient models.
When should you DIY and when should you go pro?
Unless you have training in electrical work, most jobs should be left for the pros. There are so many home improvement videos on YouTube these days, it may be tempting to try to DIY. If you have some handyman ability, you may feel comfortable doing light electrical repairs, like installing a light fixture or replacing the contacts in an outlet. But most electrical work is better left to the pros, and for good reason.
At the least, making a mistake while doing DIY electrical repairs could mean subjecting yourself to the discomfort of an electric shock … at the worst, fatal electrocution. Even if you do manage to get the job done, poor wiring or improper installation could also create a fire hazard down the line. There are some jobs it just makes sense to pay someone else to do.
An electric repairman or -woman can also offer other important services, including but not limited to:
- Attic and bath exhaust fans
- Backup generators
- Fixture replacement or installation, including ceiling fans
- Lighting and lighting design
- Security lighting
If you need Alexandria electrical repair, call the expert service providers at John C. Flood. Connect with our experienced technicians who can provide all types of home electrical repair service and installation in the D.C. metropolitan area.