The new mantra in America is ‘do-it-yourself’. Homeowners have taken to remodeling and rebuilding their houses and associated structures all on their own and without the help of seasoned professionals. No doubt, there are a wealth of resources to help the DIYer in their pursuits. Home improvement retailers dominate the markets today. Add to this the tens of thousands of videos that walk the individual through the many ‘how-tos’ of conducting upgrades and one might be led to believe we no longer need the experts and professionals in the many fields of home construction and remodeling.
While we are supportive of the DIYer – we also know there are many areas where the homeowner should call on professional support to complete the job. None are more important that working with electricity.
First, the home improvement aficionado should know that many types of upgrades in the home and around the property require a local permit. A building permit is an ‘official approval from the local governing agency’ that gives permission to the homeowner or construction company to proceed with the project that was described in the authorization form.
Working with the electrical systems of a home is highly sophisticated. Moreover, while DIY is an excellent outlet for the amateur carpenter, it does come with risks if you are unfamiliar with the nuances of electricity. Unfortunately, there are a variety of violations that are common if a homeowner is not knowledgeable about electrical upgrades. These include the following.
• Choosing the wrong circuit breakers. Circuit breakers perform an important service. They act to protect both the electrical wiring in the home as well as the electrical appliances and technology equipment should a power surge occur. Different circuit breakers provide protection in different ways.
For example, ground fault circuit interrupters protect people who are using electrical appliances near water. They are necessary in bathrooms, kitchens and similar rooms.
• Not installing ‘tamper-resistant receptacles’. These receptacles are now required. They prevent children from inserting an object into the outlet.
• Installing the wrong cover on an outdoor receptacle. This is especially important because these outlets are often exposed to the elements and can be dangerous.