Why you shouldn’t do electrical work yourself

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Simple home maintenance jobs can be tempting to do on your own. From a quick rewiring job to customising plugs or appliances, you might think that DIY will save you time and money. But DIY repairs might well have higher costs in the long run.

No electrical job is ever ‘easy’

As electrical professionals are aware, no job is ever ‘simple’ and working with electricity comes with a great deal of risk. Without the correct protective equipment and training, even something as simple as rewiring a power point or replacing home lighting can lead to a serious electric shock. In Australia, any electric work on a hardwired appliance (directly connected to the house’s main power) requires a licensed electrician.

These electrical contractors have a deep understanding of best practice around electricity, as well as any laws, rules or regulations that new work needs to follow. When taking on home DIY projects, there are lots of complications to be aware of, including managing amperage, safety equipment and materials.

And while there’s plenty of information online about the best ways to relocate power points or change a light switch – both are actually illegal and need to be done by an electrician.

Confusion over what is and isn’t legal is also fuelled by the availability of electrical appliances in most hardware stores. While you can purchase lighting plugs and sockets on your own dime, you’ll need a contractor to install them.

DIYing puts everyone at risk

You might turn to DIY work because of the high cost of hiring an electrician – but you face a far greater cost if you do the work themselves. It’s important to note that licensed professionals can’t certify your work after the fact, so any work you complete will always present a risk.

It’s not just your own life that you risk when you decide to DIY – your work can also put your family and friends in harm’s way. Between 2014 and 2016, 55 people died due to electrical injury. Of these, 13 were unintentional deaths that occurred in the home.

Customised appliances, wiring or sockets presents a danger to everyone, and without certification, these devices can malfunction or spark at any time. Performing your own electrical repairs can also void your home insurance in the case of an electrical fire or other damage, and land you a fine worth tens of thousands of dollars.

The best way to ensure that your DIY work is safe is simple? Don’t do it. For any complex electrical tasks outside of changing a lightbulb, a licensed electrician should be contracted for work. While you might save a few bucks doing it yourself, the risks are far greater than any of the potential benefits.

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