When home maintenance situations arise, many homeowners try to take a DIY approach to get things done. While there are several benefits to managing repairs yourself, you should leave certain specialties to the experts — electrical work being the most notable.
Here are five signs that it’s time to put away the tools and hire an electrician.
When You Plan on Building or Demolishing
If ever there’s a time to type “electrician near me” into Google, it’s any time you’re adding or opening a wall. If you plan on building an addition onto your home, it’s essential to have an electrician assist with the process. Additionally, if you plan on demolishing a wall, you should always talk to an electrician and a contractor first. Finding out that you have important wiring or a support pillar after knocking out the wall can be a costly and potentially dangerous mistake.
Many homeowners are helping offset their costs by separating their homes into units for rental income or adding an in-law suite. During this process, it’s not uncommon to find that the wiring between the two sections is difficult to separate and reroute. If you have long-term construction plans for your home, talk to an electrician before you start making changes.
When Adding an Outlet or Fixture
In theory, adding a new outlet or fixture is pretty straightforward. You can find a video on YouTube, turn off the power, and figure it out within an afternoon, right?
While many people with basic handy skills successfully add an outlet or new fixture with a simple online tutorial, there are several risks to consider. For one, ensuring the power is truly off can be a matter of life and death. Secondly, even a simple mistake can lead to a costly electrical fire that puts your home, family and belongings at risk. Depending on your insurance policy, this DIY project could also render your coverage invalid.
In short, it’s better to call a professional to get the job done right.
You Notice Flickering Lights
In the movies, flickering lights typically indicate that a ghost or monster is near. In reality, your house probably isn’t haunted; you just need some electrical work done.
Flickering lights indicate that a wire or connection is damaged. In addition to being annoying and negatively impacting your power consumption, a frayed wire can cause an electrical fire. Mice and other pests often chew wires, which could be the cause of the issue in the first place.
You Experience Considerable Surges
Another sign that it’s time to call an electrician is when you experience power surges. A random power surge here and there isn’t a huge deal. Sometimes a power surge will occur during a storm. This occurrence is normal and can be offset by using surge protectors to protect your electronics.
However, if you’re continuously blowing fuses, there could be something more serious going on. Call an electrician to check it out.
You Notice Burning or Melting Smells
Finally, you should call an electrician immediately if you smell burning or melting plastic. Electrical fires tend to start inside the walls and can smolder for some time before catching. Sometimes when one of these insidious fires starts, you smell an “electrical” smell rather than burning or melting.
Call an electrician as soon as possible if you notice these odors. Take a look around your house to see if there are any other signs (smoke, for example) and ensure your fire detectors are working. If you’re concerned, leave the premises.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, electrical failures or malfunctions are the second leading cause of house fires. Keep this statistic in mind before trying DIY electrical work. Some things are better left to the professionals and well worth the investment.