Why Doing Your Own Electrical Work Is Dangerous


Why Doing Your Own Electrical Work Is Dangerous

Oct 5, 2017, 12:33:15 PM Life and Styles

Big box hardware stores promote the idea of DIY repairs by offering affordable supplies and tools once used exclusively by tradesmen and contractors. Still, you have to draw a line somewhere. If tiling a bathroom fails, you will lose money and time, at worst. However, if electric repairs go wrong, the consequences can be much worse. If wire cutters and a neon screwdriver rarely leave your pocket, at least know the dangers involved in doing your own electric work.     

What counts as electrical work?

Under section 18 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002, electrical work includes ‘the manufacturing, constructing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing, or replacing of electrical equipment’. This includes tasks like installing a new power point, replacing a light switch, repairing a heater, replacing a light fitting with a ceiling fan or constructing an extension lead. While it’s not against the law to purchase electric accessories and appliances, they must be wired by a licensed contractor.

Electrical shock

It is still ranking as one of the top causes of site-related death among construction workers, despite their equipment and training. When amateur ‘repairmen’ attempt to save money by doing electric work themselves, the risk increases significantly. Connecting with a livewire is much easier than you may think, and apart from deep burns, electrocution may also lead to heart muscle failure. 

Property damage

Whenever you attempt to fix something in your home you are not trained to repair, you are increasing the chances of doing more damage than good. When you try to repair electric lines, you put your appliances at risk of overvoltage. The risk increases even more if you choose the wrong size wiring and other elements like fuses or switches. On top of that, many houses have hidden wires and cables behind the walls, which you may accidentally cut.  

Fire damage

Heat is one of the most important side effects of electric circuits. It increases with electric resistance, in other words, weak connections and wrong sized wiring. Not to mention sparks that can set off a fire. The statistics show that the majority of home fires are caused by faulty electrics, so it’s hardly worth a risk to leave electric work to untrained repairers.

Cost of repair work

While you may feel that paying for professional work is expensive, the repair of DIY projects can cost you even more. If your wiring work turns out to be faulty, it can cause circuits shorting around the house. Not to mention the damage that a bad wiring job can cause to light fittings, cables and sockets. Although getting a house rewired is somewhat costly, hiring a licenced Sydney electrician to do the entire work right from the start will pay off.  

Legal troubles

Depending on where you live, unless your electrical work is signed off by a licenced electrician, you might be held liable for the damage or accidents caused by your electrical installation. Even if everything seems fine after the repairs are done, the electrical installation may be left in an unsafe state. Due to the nature of electric faults, the danger may not be immediately apparent. What is more, even helping someone else to do their rewiring can lead to legal problems. Australia has penalties up to $40,000 for individuals who do unlicensed electrical work.   

There are many dangers associated with doing your own wiring work. Apart from presenting a risk to your personal safety and the one of your family, unprofessionally done electrical repairs increase fire hazard. Eventually, a job that is badly done could end up costing you more than if you called in the experts right away.


Published by Emma Lawson

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