6 Common Electrical Mistakes Homeowners Need to Stop Making Right Now
First of all, shoutout to all the innovative and crafty home DIYers out there! It’s a great way to save money and flex your creativity muscles.
Still, there’s a certain level of additional risk that comes with amateur electrical projects. Depending on what the mistake is, you may end up losing money and putting yourself in danger.
Today, we’re here to cover the 6 most common electrical mistakes homeowners need to stop making right now.
One of the most dangerous mistakes that homeowners might face is something known as reversed polarity. This mistake occurs when you reverse the “hot” and neutral electrical wires, and the wires are in the opposite spots from where they are intended to be. When the wires are switched, you run the risk of blowing your expensive equipment, ruining batteries, or even getting severely shocked. To test for reversed polarity, you may use an outlet checker (take precautions) but we recommend just working with an electrician who understands how to properly wire switches.
Improper Grounding and Bonding
Grounding is fundamental to electrical safety – which is why you need to get this step 100% right. The incorrect grounding may cause power surges or equipment damage that leads to destructive circuits.
Bonding is the process of connecting multiple conductive components that are not intended to carry currents to the ground system. Breakers may not trip even when short circuits occur due to improper bonding.
Wires That Are Too Short
Did you know a general rule of thumb is to leave 3 extra inches to your wires? These 3 inches of wire should extend out from the junction box. Most DIY electricians tend to cut wires way too short, and this results in poor electrical connections throughout the system.
Not Using A Junction Box Properly
Speaking of junction boxes, they’re another problem area for home electrical projects. Whenever you add a new outlet or light fixture that can’t make the connection inside an existing electrical box, you need to use a junction box. These magical boxes are designed to protect your electrical currents and to prevent sparks in the case of a short circuit.
For proper use, junction boxes can not be buried inside anything (e.g. walls, ceilings, floors, etc.) and are accessible in case fixing is necessary.
Using the Wrong Wires
Another problem area to consider is the wire of choice itself. Using the wrong wires reduces efficiency and will eventually cause problems within your electrical system. Factors to consider include (but are not limited to) whether the application is going to be indoor or outdoor and the gauge size of the circuit’s amperage. Again, an electrician is well-versed in the different types of wires so you can always rely on them.
Not Installing GFCI Outlets
Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets protect you and your systems from shock in all locations near water and/or near natural ground. GFCI outlets are difficult to set up due to the 2 sets of terminals. These 2 sets of terminals may easily be connected backward and thus render the protection of GFCIs virtually unless.