5 Electrical Projects DIYers Should Not Take On

We know our readers love to DIY, but when it comes to electrical work there are some projects better left to the professionals.

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Shutterstock/ Nagy-Bagoly Arpad

Replacing Wiring

The main factor when deciding whether an electrical project can be tackled by a DIYer or whether it should be handled professionally is the complexity of the project. Replacing wiring is one of the jobs that are simply too complicated for even experienced DIYers. There’s just too much that can go wrong to make DIY wire replacement worth the risk. Faulty wiring leads to electrical shorts that can single-handedly cause a disastrous house fire. In the U.S. alone there are 51,000 home electrical fires each year, making them the third leading cause of home structure fires.

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fix sensitive arc fault circuit breaker
Family Handyman

Repairing or Replacing a Circuit Breaker

Another sure-fire (no pun intended) way to cause serious electrical problems in a home is to mess with the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers might seem simple from the outside, but they’re basically the brains of your house’s entire electrical system. Making a mistake when you’re working on the breaker can cause power surges and damage the wiring throughout your home. Familiarize yourself with your circuit breaker so that you know when it’s not functioning properly and needs repair, but when it comes time to do the actual electrical work, hire a pro.

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Shutterstock/ CLS Digital Arts

Replacing Burnt Outlets

Replacing outlets on their own is actually fairly simple and should not present too much of a challenge for experienced DIYers. But if an outlet is blackened, burnt, or even hot to the touch, don’t work on it. The issue here is probably related to overheated wires or overloaded circuits.

If you just replace the outlet without looking deeper, you’re basically just applying a bandage to an electrical problem. A professional electrician will be able to accurately diagnose whatever more advanced problem is causing the issue and then repair it correctly.

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kitchenaid black stainless steel appliances in kitchen

Installing Dedicated Circuits

Some appliances, especially those on the more heavy-duty side, require their own dedicated circuit for power so that they don’t cause wiring to overheat. If you’re trying to set up a high-wattage appliance in a room without a dedicated circuit to spare, you might be tempted to try and install another one on your own- don’t.

Installing a dedicated circuit requires a more advanced knowledge of wiring and outlet installation, and if you get any of it wrong you’re just going to end up wasting time and money.

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Light Switches
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Installing New Switches

Replacing switches that have gone bad or upgrading to a different kind of switch is not all that complicated. Installing an entirely new switch is. Avoid installing a new switch as a DIY project.

A professional electrician will be able to do the job much safer and more efficiently. If you’re still jonesing for a project you can do yourself, here are 14 super fun DIY projects for all ages.

Harrison Kral
After spending his college summers pouring concrete and building decks, Harrison Kral decided to find a way to put his insider knowledge of construction to use…. just in an air-conditioned setting. He’s an established writer and editor in the DIY space who has written extensively on the home building industry, the housing market, and general DIY trends.