Whether you know it or not, most of the electrical repairs you have to do at home are a consequence of your own mistakes. Sometimes you make the wrong choices and decisions about electrical fixtures that only lead to short circuits and unnecessary problems.
These tips should help you avoid these mistakes and repairs.
1: Having connections outside electrical boxes
Some people think that junction or J boxes are unnecessary, and end up making connections outside the boxes. This is a huge mistake as these boxes serve a purpose. They are there to protect any accidental damage and helps control any sparks and heat arising from loose connections or short circuits.
2: Wires too short
Always use sufficient wires for connections. Insufficient wires only lead to difficult and dangerous connections. In case the wires are not at least 3 inches from the box, add some 6” extensions to them. This helps extend them for easier use.
3: Poorly supported outlets and switches
Not only are loose switches and outlets ugly to look at, but they can also move around and loosen the terminal wires. This is dangerous because loose wires tend to arc and overheat to pose a potential fire hazard. You can place some shimming like a small washer or coil some wire around the screw to tighten the connection.
4: Replacing two-slot with three-slot outlets
While it’s tempting to replace two-slot outlets with three-slot ones for three-prong plugs, it’s dangerous without grounding. So first use a tester to check and ensure the outlet is grounded.
Only then should you install a three-slot connection. Replacing three-slot outlets in ungrounded boxes with a two-slot outlet, however, prevents unnecessary electrical repair.
5: Stuffing electrical boxes
Though you may think you can save on space and work by stuffing too many wires into a box, you are only inviting electrical repairs. Stuffed electrical boxes only lead to dangerous overheating, short circuits and possible fire. This is why the National Electrical Code has minimum box sizes to help reduce this risk.
6: Wrongly connecting neutral and hot wires
One of the most common electrical repairs is a consequence of wrongly connecting the black hot wire to the neutral terminal because it can lead to a lethal shock.
While your lights and most plug-in devices may work with this wrong connection, it’s not safe. In fact, you realize the mistake only when someone gets shocked.
This is a mistake you can avoid by properly identifying the neutral terminal so that you can make the proper connections. The good news is that it’s not so difficult because the neutral terminal is usually identified with a silver or light-coloured screw.
So avoid this terminal, and instead connect the hot wire to the other terminal. The ground is usually the green or bare copper wire which should be connected to a ground wire, grounded box or the green grounding screw as applicable.
Avoiding these 6 mistakes can, in turn, help you save money and distress by preventing unnecessary electrical repair.