A DIY cable installation project can be a great way to save money and improve your home on a budget. But if not done right, an electrical DIY can cost you more due to botched installations and, even worse, accidents and injuries.
According to NAPIT, a third of electricians spend 25 percent of their time fixing faulty DIYs. It’s therefore essential to prioritize safety to prevent electrical hazards and ensure the integrity of your installation.
From using proper cable management equipment like these to consulting with experts, here are five important safety tips to follow when installing cables on your own:
Do Your Homework
Don’t just jump in and start your installation or repair work. Take the time to learn about your cable installation, what is needed, and the safety precautions you need to take. If you have a guide, read the instructions –twice. The internet is a good source of information too, but you can also try getting advice from someone with expertise in electrical work.
You should also make sure you check the current building and wiring regulations in your area. This will help you plan accordingly and avoid potential penalties for non-compliance.
Shut Off the Power
If you’re installing an electrical cable, you should first switch off the circuit breaker – even when doing light installations or repairs. This helps prevent short-circuiting and lowers the risk of electric shock.
Your lights and other electrical appliances will go off once you’ve shut off the circuit breaker. You can also use a voltage tester or multimeter to confirm the power is off before touching any terminal or exposed wire with your tools.
Use Proper Tools & Equipment
While it might be tempting to use any applicable tools that you have and save money on new purchases, you should always make sure you use proper electrical tools. Whether it’s the cable cutter or a wire stripper, it should be properly insulated to minimize the risk of accidents.
Besides your work tools, you should also ensure you get the right cables. The wrong cable can pose an immediate risk to you first during the installation and cause long-term risks to the safety of your home.
Some of the key things to look out for when choosing cables are size and ampacity. If you overload a wire, it can melt and cause a fire. It’s important to read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you use the right cable for the right purpose.
How you lay your cables will go a long way in determining the success and durability of your installation. You should avoid routing the cables through walking areas or where heavy objects like furniture may pinch them.
One way to protect your cables is to use proper cable trunking. In addition to keeping things tidy and improving the aesthetics of your home, it eliminates tripping risks posed by exposed wires. Trunking also reduces the possibility of your cables coming into conduct with water. And on top of that, it provides easy access during maintenance and future home improvements.
Test and Inspect
Completing an electrical DIY project can be quite rewarding. But before you turn on the power, carry out an inspection of everything that you’ve handled that day, just to check if everything is in the right condition. Check for tears, abrasions, melted insulation, bulges, scorching, exposed wire, and any other sign of damage.
In addition to visual inspection, you should use a multimeter or continuity tester to check for faults. If you detect any issues, fix them right away or dismantle your installation to avoid a potential accident.