Working with electricity can be scary if you don’t know what you’re doing, in which case you shouldn’t be working with it at all but you should call an electrical contractor to do the work for you. No amount of savings is worth it if it results in you being injured or killed so if you’re not skilled in electrical matters, leave it to the professionals. That being said, there are some things everyone should do when working with electricity to keep themselves and everyone around them safe.
Turn Off the Power
No matter how minor the job you are doing is, always shut off the power to the particular circuit you are working on. Also, unless you configured the breaker box yourself, don’t trust any labels; instead shut off the breaker you think is the right one and then manually verify that there is no power going to the outlet you are working on by testing it with a small appliance or a voltage meter. If you don’t know which breaker shuts off the outlet you are working on, plug a small lamp into the outlet and then start turning off the breakers, one by one. When the lamp goes out, you have found the right breaker. It would be a good idea to go ahead and label the breaker switches so it will be easier next time.
Stay Away From Metal and Water
Never touch metal when you are working with electricity and never use a metal ladder to stand on, even if you’re just installing a ceiling fan or something relatively simple. Instead, use a wooden ladder when working on anything electrical. Also, never work on anything electrical if you or your clothes are wet and don’t stand on a wet floor either. If you need to find something safe to stand on, find a dry piece of wood or a rubber mat.
Protect Your Children
Teach your children to respect electricity too but until they are old enough to understand, protect them by using protective caps in outlets that are not being used and replace frayed cords immediately. Don’t run electrical cords under rugs and don’t allow anyone in your household to either. Teach electrical safety in the bathroom as well as anywhere else near water and keep all electrical appliances away from water sources. If your bathroom doesn’t have GFI devices installed, consider upgrading to them, as this is an inexpensive upgrade and could save the lives of you or your loved ones.
There are many DIY electrical jobs that may seem simple but it is still important to follow all safety practices at all times to prevent injury or death. Sometimes, beginning do-it-yourselfers think that if they are just repairing a small item, such as a lamp, that they couldn’t possibly be electrocuted but it is the same electricity that powers the lamp that can shock or electrocute you.