Most people fancy do it yourself projects especially when dealing with home equipment to save some money. Most of the time, savings are made when such projects are done appropriately and successfully. However, sometimes the outcome is not so satisfactorily because f some common mistakes inexperienced people commit during the do it yourself exercise. Nowadays, it is becoming common for people in Singapore to undertake electrical wiring and cable installation exercises in their homes. However, due to some of the common electrical mistakes committed, there has been an increased rate of electrical related disasters such as short circuits and in worst cases fires.
If you are keen on handling your home’s electrical wiring, here is a guideline on some of the electrical mistakes that you should avoid. These tips will help make your exercise bear positive results and more importantly save your life. Before undertaking any electrical exercise, ensures that you have switched off the main power supply to avoid electrocution.
• Never make connections outside electrical boxes
Electrical boxes are important in electrical connections because they contain any spark or flame that make occur due to faulty connection or overheating. The boxes also protect the wires from accidental damage which in turn saves you money. Failure to use electrical boxes during electrical connections is a major fire hazard because any spark that may occur will not be correctly contained. Always ensure that you do not make too many connections in the boxes. Overfilling of the boxes can lead to arcing or a short circuit that could lead to a fire. If your electrical boxes are damage, always disconnect the fixture first before you install a new electrical box. Once you have installed the electrical box, you can then reconnect the fixture.
• Do not leave plastic cables unprotected
Plastic cables that are not protected are vulnerable and can be easily damaged. Always ensure that you have protected your plastic sheathed cables especially those located on the ceiling framing and those which are run over or under the walls. You can protect you plastic cables but attaching an inch wide board on the wall alongside the wire. Protecting your plastic cables saves you lots of money that you would have otherwise used for replacing damaged cables. It is also safer for you and your family when electrical cables are not openly exposed especially in a home with little children.
• Never cut the connection wires too short
It is very difficult to work with wires that are cut shorter than the recommended because this means that a lot of pulling and tagging will be done in order to complete a connection. Shorter wires lead to wrong terminations that can be quite catastrophic if not handled carefully. The recommended length of electrical wires is that they should always stick out about 3 inches, from the box. In case of short wires, you can correct this mistake by adding connectors if it is possible so as to make the wires a bit longer. However, if you opt to use connectors, always ensure that you use crimped extensions to screw them tightly in.
• Avoid loose wire connections
Most people tend to commit this mistake in an attempt to save money. It is common for most people to strip a wire and wrap it around another wire so as to make a connection. Such connections are fire hazards due to the overheating that occurs when a connection is made in such a way. Connections between wires should always be made using wire nut, and they should be twisted together and never wrapped around each other. Loose connections around outlets and switches should also be avoided because they pose a very big problem. Whenever you make a connection with a terminal screw, ensure that you bend the stripped wire in a half moon shape with the open end being on the right. This will make tightening of the screw in a clockwise manner easy. Therefore, loose wire connections should be avoided to prevent fire caused by faulty electrical connections.
• Wrong wire terminal connections
This is another common mistake that should be avoided connecting wires to the wrong terminals can be very hazardous. Such mistakes include connecting the black hot wire to a neutral terminal instead of the brass colored screw on an outlet. These mistakes can be quite lethal and should be avoided at all cost. Once such a mistake is made, it may be hard to detect until such a time when someone is electrocuted. It is difficult to detect such mistakes because everything may normally work, but it will definitely not be safe. Therefore, always ensure that you connect the right wire to the correct terminal to avoid such fatal accidents.
• Never install a cable without use of a clamp
Cables that are not correctly secured tend to strain the connections. In case of connections in a metal box, the insulations on the wires can be easily ruined which can lead to damage of the wires. It is necessary for larger plastic cables to have built-in cable clamps to ensure that they are tightly secured. You should ensure that the clamps are always stapled within 12 inches of the box. Smaller plastic cables do not necessarily require cable clamps but in case they are used, the cables should be stapled within 8 inches. Cables in metal boxes can be secured to the box with the use of the approved cable clamp.
• Do not recess electrical boxes behind combustible wall surfaces
You should avoid fixing your electrical boxes on combustible wall surfaces such as wood because any slight spark in the wires can be a great cause of a fire. To avoid such mistakes always ensure that electrical boxes are flush with the wall surface where contact with sparks and heat from the wires is limited. In cases where the electrical box being installed needs to have an extension ring added, you need to mount the box face flush using the wall stud before you can add the extension ring. The thickness of the extension ring should always match the drywall’s thickness.
The above tips should assist in making your do-it-yourself of task fewer mistakes prone and safer for you and your family. Good luck in your electrical task.