Posted in blog on August 29, 2016
We live in a Do-It- Yourself kind of world—for proof, just look at the popularity of Pinterest. The DIY mentality can save you money and allows you to add personal flair to your home, office, and social events. DIY is only a savvy choice when you take appropriate precautions, especially when it comes to home care. Many DIY projects may have you tackling wiring or doing other electrical work in your home. Do you know enough to avoid injury? Follow this guide to avoid electrical shocks in your home for your next DIY project.
Many people don’t realize how dangerous working with electrical components can actually be. A shock less than 14 milliamps is enough to stop a person’s heart—and that’s the draw from your average nightlight. Wiring in older homes can be particularly dangerous, as it’s neither grounded nor safeguarded in the same way modern wiring is. When in doubt, cut the power before your next project. Knowing how to avoid electrical shock requires a basic primer on how electricity actually works.
At its most basic level, alternating current (AC) electricity powers your house through voltage, current, and resistance. Voltage is a measure of the force that moves electrons through a conductive element (like wires), current is the measure of electrons passing through the wire, and resistance is the opposition to that movement. We plug into AC electricity through outlets, which are standardized at 120 V, though the current, measured in amps, varies based on the load (i.e., what you’re powering). The amperage of a toaster is enough to send your body into muscle spasms, while 20 milliamps can cause atrial fibrillation, which is fatal.
To avoid electric shock, follow some electricity safety basics:
Check Your Work
Once you’re done with your DIY electrical project, take a few moments to check your handiwork. Use a receptacle tester to make sure your wiring’s correct, and then check for switches with the NCVT before putting any load into the circuit.
DIY projects can save you time and money, but they’re only worth the effort if you proceed safely and know what you’re doing. Abide by basic safety precautions to avoid electric shock, and don’t be afraid to call a professional if you notice any potential hazards. With a little planning, you can safety perform basic electrical work in your home.