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Why Electrical Work is Rarely DIY


DIY culture is booming in the U.S. due to a plethora of home improvement TV shows and online tutorials. But beware! These tutorials and TV shows can make projects seem much easier than they actually are. This is especially true when it comes to completing electrical repairs. In fact, electrical repairs should always be left to the professionals.

Read on to learn why electrical work is rarely DIY.

Why You Should Leave Electrical Repairs to the Professionals

Before you spend your time reading up on DIY electric projects, take a moment to consider the risks. You may think that preventing injury and damage is as simple as turning off your breaker. But read on to get a better understanding of all you could risk or jeopardize with an unpermitted, DIY electrical job. 

Electrical Shock

It is no surprise that one of the risks when working around electricity is the probability of being shocked. Electrical shock can be deadly at practically any voltage level, and this is especially true when working with higher voltages.

In most residential homes, the average voltage for lighting and outlets is 110 volts. That’s already sufficient power to give you quite a jolt! However, the voltage levels for specific appliances, such as ovens and dryers, can reach 240 volts – an extremely dangerous load. Therefore, residential electricians go through years of training to master how to work safely around electricity. 

Additionally, the typical home has lots of electrical components, and some connections may be out of sight. Since it can be difficult to find these connections, you may accidentally get shocked before you even attempt the DIY fix. Trained professionals are more prepared with these components and will know how to address them safely.  

Fire Hazard

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical malfunction is listed as one of the top causes of house fires. All it takes is a wire in the wrong spot and the chances of an electrical fire significantly increase. And unlike electrical shock, where the results will be prompt, electrical fire hazards can remain latent for months. This can lead electrical DIYers into a false sense of security after finishing a project, only to experience the wiring shorting out leading to a fire much later.  In the U.S. alone 51,000 house fires are caused by electrical components and systems. 

Lack of Training

Not every home project requires years of training. But electrical work does! Electricians are trained, complete apprenticeship hours, and must pass a licensing test. Not something you can pick up from YouTube over the weekend! 

In fact, to become an electrician, an individual needs to complete 600 hours of in-class instruction covering safety, electrical circuits, and blueprint reading. Electricians also complete on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed electrician. As an untrained DIYer, these safety protocols and electrical component knowledge are too complicated to always follow properly.

Legal Issues

For some electrical work, a permit is required in order to legally do the work. These permits ensure that local codes and safety protocols are properly followed. Professional electricians and contractors must also obtain permits to complete jobs.

For example, in Georgia, permits are required when you:

  • Install or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device.  
  • Run additional wiring in your home.  
  • Install a new electrical outlet or light fixture.  
  • Install a receptacle for a garage door opener.  
  • Convert from a fuse box to circuit breakers.  
  • Install or alter low-voltage systems, such as security alarms, stereos, or computer systems.

Not only does this work require permits, but to ensure the work is done correctly, most electrical permits require three inspections. A professional electrician will be able to guide you through this process and complete work that will be permitted and pass local inspections. 

Reduced Home Value

When you attempt to sell your home, any DIY electrical repairs will likely be discovered by the buyer’s home inspector or during the point of sale inspection completed by a city inspector. If you made electrical repairs without a permit, the city inspector may require the work to be exposed and inspected. This can be quite expensive for you, especially if it requires opening any walls. 

Additionally, the potential home buyer likely won’t want to take on the risk of fines and paying for the job to be done correctly and within compliance. Instead, they may argue for a lower sale price, effectively reducing the value of your home.

If the buyer of your home does hire a licensed electrician who discovers violations and a lack of permits, you may even be fined heavily if the sale is still under contract. At that point, you may be forced to pay for the faulty electrical work before the close of the sale.

If the faulty electrical work is discovered after the sale, you may still be held liable. This could trigger your home’s buyer to consider legal action against you for not informing them about the lack of permits and faulty electrical work. Especially if the unpermitted work was not listed on the home disclosure.

So not only does the failure to have an electrical repair inspected present a risk, but it can likewise lead to substantial fines. Some homeowners incorrectly think that they can hide repairs behind walls and in the attic, only to run into troubles when they go to sell the house. By bringing in an expert electrician, you can rest assured that every electrical repair will pass city inspection now and in the future. 

Insurance Concerns

Insurance companies have the right to deny any claims resulting from negligence. If you didn’t get the proper permits and a licensed electrical inspector to inspect your work, your insurance company may deem you negligent if damage to your home occurs as a result.

For example, if your home catches fire due to faulty and unpermitted electrical work, the insurance company has the right to deny your claim. That means your loss is entirely out of pocket. A denied claim is a high price to pay, especially when hiring an electrician would have been far more economical.

Electrical Repairs: Always Hire a Professional

As tempting as it can be to make home projects DIY, remember that electrical work is not something to take lightly. The risk of harm to yourself and your property is substantial. A poorly done DIY electric project done today can have catastrophic results tomorrow or further down the road.

That’s why, when any electrical repairs are needed, make sure to thoroughly do your research. Ask a qualified electrician for their opinion, as well. And always make sure that your contractor and/or electrician is also following the law. Since you know they must get the proper permits, have insurance, and have their work inspected, the best course of action is to always leave electrical work to the professionals. 

If you are in need of a qualified electrician, contact us today to find a highly skilled, background-checked electrician to complete electrical work on your home. And when you use a 

TrustDALE certified professional

, you're always protected by Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right Guarantee.