It is possible to safely do minor electrical repairs around your home, such as replacing a switch or working on an electrical device, if you take the right safety precautions before you begin working. Here are four safety steps you should always take before doing an electrical repair.
#1 Unplug All Electrical Devices
First, you need to unplug the electrical device that you are going to be working on. If you are going to work on a switch or outlet, make sure you unplug all electrical devices that are connected to the switch or outlet that you will be working on. Be aware that some electrical devices store electrical energy when they are unplugged.
#2 Turn Off the Right Breaker
Second, you need to turn the breaker off to the area where you will be doing electrical repairs. If your breaker panel is set-up correctly, it should be labeled. Each breaker should have a short label, such as 'kitchen' or 'living room lights left side' to let you know what area of your home the breaker is associated with. Turn off the labeled breaker and then check to make sure that the power is off in the correct section of your home.
If your breakers are not labeled, work with a partner to figure out what area of your home each of your breakers corresponds to. Turn off a breaker and have a partner let you know what part of the house the electricity was turned off. Be sure to label the breakers after you figure out where they go.
#3 Test With A Multimeter
Before you begin working on an outlet, switch or electrical device, test and make sure that it is really off and that no residual electrical current is present. You can do this with a multimeter. A multimeter is a tool you can use to measure voltage. Take the two prongs on the multimeter and touch them to the outlet or switch that you want to work on. If there is still electricity running through the outlet or switch, the multimeter will give you a voltage reading. If there is still electricity running through the outlet or switch, make sure you turned off the breaker. If the correct breaker is off, you may need to wait a little bit for the residual electricity to dissipate.
#4 Wear Rubber Gloves
Finally, make sure that you protect yourself by wearing rubber gloves. Rubber gloves do not conduct electricity and will help protect you from electric shock. If you ever touch a wire that you are not sure is live, touch the wire with the back of your hand. That way, if you do get shocked, your body's natural reaction will be to pull your hand away.
Be sure to follow the above four safety steps before you start a do-it-yourself electrical project. Contact an electrical contractor for help.Share