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7 Common Mistakes DIYers Make with Electrical Projects

7 Common Mistakes DIYers Make with Electrical Projects

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Family Handyman

Safety Switches vs. Circuit Breakers

Knowing the difference is huge when understanding electrical panels. Safety switches are to help prevent any electrical issues that can happen to you personally. It can detect electrical shocks before anything were to occur and will switch off the electricity before something happens. This can happen if a faulty electrical appliance is being used, as well as issues with the electrical wiring. Circuit breakers simply turn off the power when there’s too much electrical current being used. Having too much current can overheat an electrical appliance or wiring, which of course can lead to electrical fires or other damages. If you’re interested in connecting a new circuit, here’s how to do it.

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Family Handyman

Not Using GFCI Outlets

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and it helps to monitor the amount of power being used in one outlet. For example, if you’re using one outlet for a powerful appliance or device, this will help to prevent electrocution—especially for those that are near water sources. GFCI will cut the power any time a slight variation is detected. Here’s how to install GFCI outlets.

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Junction-Box-electrical-junction-box-j-boxFamily Handyman

Not Installing a Junction Box

It may seem like a pointless expense at first, but at the end of the day, it could save you a lot in damage. Junction boxes hold together the connected wires to avoid accidental damage, sparks and heat that can occur from a loose connection or short circuit. This will save you the hassle of dismantling and fixing wires.

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wire cuttersFamily Handyman

Making Wires Too Short

If your wires are cut too short, you’ll experience poor connection from the electrical circuit. Having a little slack in the electrical box is good, but not too much. You want to make sure wire connections are tight, while also giving the wire some breathing room.

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wire sizes gauge

Using Different Wire Gauges

Using the same wire gauge will help to prevent overloading. You can do this by evaluating the size of your wiring, and applying the right type of gauge to your breaker. Here’s how to determine wire sizes.

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Family Handyman

Not Using a Non-Contact Voltage Tester

When doing any work with the electricity in your home, it’s always important to turn off the electrical circuit. However, some would make the mistake of not testing the wires of an electrical box before doing any work. Make sure to test it to make sure everything is “dead” before moving forward. Plus, these testers are pretty cheap. Here’s how to use cheap electrical testers.

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FH07FEB_ECEMIS_16Family Handyman

Reversing Hot and Neutral Wires

Connecting the black hot wire to the neutral terminal of an outlet creates the potential for a lethal shock. Always connect the white wire to the neutral terminal of outlets and light fixtures. The neutral terminal is always marked. It’s usually identified by a silver or light-colored screw. Connect the hot wire to the other terminal. If there’s a green or bare copper wire, that’s the ground. Connect the ground to the green grounding screw or to a ground wire or grounded box.