Top 10 Electrical Mistakes

How to recognize and correct wiring blunders that can endanger your home

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Mistake 1: Making connections outside electrical boxes


Turn off the power at the main panel when you're doing electrical work.

Mistake 2: Cutting wires too short

Mistake 3: Leaving plastic-sheathed cable unprotected

Mistake 4: Poor support for outlets and switches

Mistake 5: Installing a three-slot receptacle without a ground wire

Mistake 6: Recessing boxes behind the wall surface

Mistake 7: Installing cable without a clamp

Mistake 8: Overfilling electrical boxes

Mistake 9: Reversing hot and neutral wires

Mistake 10: Wiring a GFCI backward

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Cordless drill
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Drywall saw
  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Utility knife
  • Wire stripper/cutter

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Junction boxes
  • Wire
  • Wire connectors
  • 2 x 2
  • Outlet spacers
  • Receptacles
  • Electrical boxes
  • Box extensions
  • Cable clamps

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