What should I consider before trying a home electrical project myself?

Weigh the pros and cons of a do-it-yourself home electrical project.
Have you replaced a light bulb that still won't shine? Does your kitchen lose power when you run your dishwasher and microwave at the same time? Do you want to add a ceiling fan installation to your patio? If you're considering tackling an electrical wiring project at home, here are a few things you should ask yourself:

Can I do this safely?

Safety always comes first, especially with house wiring. Most of us have a basic fear of electricity, which is completely normal. An electric shock can be dangerously fatal, and faulty wiring can overheat and possibly start a fire. For these reasons, you'll want to exercise caution and good planning if you decide to do any electrical project yourself.

Even for the simplest wiring jobs, you need to have a general understanding of your home electrical system and the safety precautions involved. The most important thing to consider with electrical work is disconnecting the power. Flip the appropriate circuit breaker on your electrical service panel to the "off" position and use a circuit tester to make sure no power is flowing to the project area. If you can't determine which circuit breaker to trip, you can stop the flow of power to your entire house with the main disconnect circuit breaker, located at the top of your electrical service panel.

Can I finish the job?

If there's one thing that's true about life, it's that most things worth doing take more time and energy than originally expected. Home improvement projects definitely fall into this category. When assessing your electrical wiring project, be honest with yourself, your skill level, and whether or not you enjoy tinkering around the house. Common sense and hard work go a long way, but a complicated or difficult project can easily grind to a halt. You'll also want to consider the age of your home electrical system. If you own an older home, it may not be up to par on safety codes. In this case, you'll want to call on a professional.

Will I save money?

One of the main inspirations for do-it-yourself home improvements is to save money. Although professional electricians can be very expensive, you'll want to compare the quotes you get to the cost of all the tools and equipment needed for your project. You'll also want to factor in the nights and weekends that you'll be sacrificing to complete the job. The last thing worth mentioning is the possibility of a botched project. Hiring a professional to fix any accidental mistakes that sometimes happen can actually be more costly than the original project itself.

If you decide to an electrical project yourself, remember to have fun, plan well, and get a professional electrician's number ahead of time in case of an emergency. If you need the assistance of a professional, find licensed electricians in your area on Kudzu.com.

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