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DIY Electrical Wiring Mistakes to Avoid

by Clinton Stone

Electrical work is dangerous, and it is often wise to leave this type of work to the professionals. That being said, there are many handy individuals who decide to complete electrical work themselves. If you have been thinking about doing some rewiring yourself, or if you want to add an electrical outlet or two to your home, then keep reading to learn about some mistakes to avoid.

Mistake - Not Testing for Current

Most people understand that they need to shut the power off before they start working on an outlet or an electrical line. However, breakers are often mislabeled, and sometimes circuits in the home are not correctly connected to breakers. This means that the power cannot be completely turned off in that area of the home unless the main breaks are tripped. In some instances, though, the main breaker will be stuck in the "on" position. This is rare, but it can complicate your electrical project. 

Even if you think you have turned off the power to the circuit you are working on, you should check to make sure that electrical flow has been properly cut off. Even a small amount of electrical current flowing through your body can stop your heart, so it is essential to check for current before you start any electrical work.

You can check current in a few different ways. Most experienced homeowners and DIYers will use a tool called a multimeter. The tool measures resistance, current, and voltage. Simply set the instrument to the current setting and place the lead of the device into a socket that is attached to the circuit you will be working on. If there is no reading on the multimeter, then you are safe to continue your project.

Mistake - Cutting Wires Too Short

When you add a new outlet, appliance, or wire to your home, you should know that you can easily cause a short-circuit issue. Short circuiting is when electrical current does not flow properly through an electrical line or appliance. Specifically, short circuiting occurs when the current escapes and flows outside the wiring.

There are many different things that can cause short circuiting. One of the most common is failing to connect wires properly to one another when adding the outlet, light, or appliance wiring to the main wires of the home. For example, if you cut wires too short and strip only a small section of each wire end, you may not have nearly enough wiring to twist and connect the wires together.

To prevent this sort of issue, make sure to cut an extra foot or two of wiring. Also, strip a full half inch of the end of the wire before connecting it. Of course, the twisted section should always be secured in a wire nut.

To learn more about electrical wiring, talk to companies like C & R Electric, Inc.