Does every electrical fault need a professional? There is nothing stopping you from trying to tackle this task on your own, it is highly advised you call a local electrician in your area to troubleshoot every electrical fault. The experience a professional brings to the table in this regard can ensure the safety you should have when it comes to your electrical system. Just fixing what you physically see as the issue might not be the only issue at play, this is where an experienced service electrician can better solve the problem.
As professional electricians in Calgary, we understand your DIY desire. We can help you navigate this rather tricky task of fixing electrical issues, while also helping you to stay safe.
Being a hands-on person is admirable and even saves money and time. At Platinum Electrical Services, we want you to know which electrical devices and wiring jobs you can quickly fix and handle on your own without necessarily relying on professional help.
You are well aware of the many sad endings involving electricity. Probably even the mere thought of handling electricity brings shivers. But, you may just need to understand the wiring system and the safety precautions around it.
First, NEVER work with live wires. ALWAYS turn the power off at the breaker and double-check the power with your tester before attempting anything. This is just one, but a very important ground rule in matters of electricity handling. You also should put a lock on the breaker or disconnect switch or at the very least a sign informing other people not to switch on the main switch.
You can carry out minor electrical work in your home. Some of these minor electrician services include replacing cover plates, switches, receptacles and although not suggested replacing or installing new cables are allowed to be done by the homeowner. You can also add lighting points to existing circuits and replace light fittings on your own without the need of calling an electrician.
One very vital piece of the electrical system is the circuit breaker. It is supposed to shut down power when there is excess current flowing.
While the circuit breaker is vital, the installation should be considered very important as well. First, you must ensure that you get the right breaker for your panel. A professional may help you understand this.
To install a replacement breaker it is highly advised you turn off the main breaker to your panel, this will minimize your risk of electric shock as well as you accidentally shorting a wire on the bus bar. Once the panel has been de-energized it is now safe to unscrew the wire that is secured to the breaker you wish to replace. Breakers in homes are usually ‘push’ in type so once the wire is removed you simply apply angular pressure away from the center of the panel to slide the breaker out. To install the breaker reverse this operation, newer breakers are sometimes tight and hard to push in do not be afraid to use some extra force but avoid slamming or hitting the breaker as this can cause it to break and/or overheat leading to a fire. Resecure the wire to the branch circuit you previously removed after tightening the screw, give the wire a tug to ensure it is properly secured, a loose connection can create a hotspot that can eventually lead to a fire in your electrical panel.
Before we get into details on the wire size, you must understand the recommended wire color code. In Canada, the Canadian Electric Code governs all wiring matters. The green, bare copper, or green with a yellow stripe, represents the protective ground. White represents the neutral (grounded wire) and the black/red is for the single-phase hot wires in a home, which is live (energized wire).
Always check the code as it is updated every three years. This helps in ensuring that electrical installation and maintenance are safe. Wire size has everything to do with safety, and many people overlook this which leads to more serious problems down the road.
The wire gauge represents different electrical wire sizing. According to the American Wire Gauge system or commonly known as the AWG, the most common gauges for sizing are 10, 12, and 14. The higher the number, the smaller the wire. For example, for a number #20, the size of the wire will be smaller compared to one indicated as a #4.
The size of the wire relates to the diameter of the metal conductor. The conductor further determines the current-carrying capacity of the wire. This current-carrying capacity of the wire essentially tells you how much amperage the wire can safely handle before it overheats and causes a fire.
I am sure you wouldn’t want a situation where you use an improper wire size which causes the insulation to melt instead of protecting the wire from shorting out. Instead of guessing on wire sizes, it’s recommended that you at least call a local electrician that you trust to see what they might recommend based on the type of job you are conducting.
Electrical DIY can be safe and fun when done right. You can save money and also have fun doing what you would normally involve a professional to do for you. But again remember to assess the complexity of the problem, and when not sure, or when in some doubt, an electrician is a call away. Better to be safe than sorry. Remember the danger involved in electricity handling and if you’re unsure, always call your local electrician to come to check things out for you! This could be the difference between a bill of a few hundred dollars vs a bill of a few thousand dollars.