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The Dangers of DIY

 The Dangers of DIY
Each year, thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and incidents in their own homes.

More homeowners than ever before are tackling do-it-yourself projects. However, most do not have the training or experience needed to safely perform home electrical work, increasing the risk of injuries. Working with electricity requires thorough planning and extreme care, and cutting corners can prove a costly mistake.

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative strongly recommends hiring a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home. However, if you do decide to do it yourself, consider the following important safety tips before undertaking any home electrical project:

  • Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
  • Take time to learn about your home electrical system so that you can safely navigate and maintain it.
  • Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities.
  • Be sure to unplug any lamp or appliance before working on it.
  • Test wires before you touch them to make sure that the power has been turned off.
  • Never touch metal pipes when performing a do-it-yourself electrical project.

Many do-it-yourself projects involve the use of power tools. Using power tools safely requires skilled instruction and training. The most common scenario for power tool-related electrocutions occurs when the equipment comes in contact with live electrical wires while it is being used. Stay safe by following these tips:

  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters with every power tool to protect against electric shocks.
  • Do not use power tools with an extension cord that exceeds 100 feet in length.
  • Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes.
  • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated.
  • When working with electricity, use tools with insulated grips.