“Mom, my laptop is not charging, nor is my cell phone”. “This light switch has conked off”. If you have heard these sentences around your home, you can imagine that they are fairly commonplace and are heard around everyone’s home once in awhile. Small electrical repairs around the home can seem like a daunting task for most: however, there is no need to always bring in the residential electrical services for minor repairs. Not only are these expensive, you can actually do many repairs in a fast and effective manner without the need of spending on professionals. Naturally, we encourage you to follow some safety rules.
Safety rules to follow for DIY repairs
- Make sure the power is off.
- You might want to unplug a device, if that is what is broken, or even turn off the mains at the breaker panel. Most homes these days have a well labelled breaker circuit so that you know what to turn off. There may be small switches with labels like “living room”, “kitchen”, main switch etc.
- If there are no labels on the circuit board, you will need to use the trial-and-error method for finding the right breaker. Switch off each breaker and go back and test the lights in the room where your appliance is plugged in.
- If you are still unsure whether you have turned the right breaker off or not, it is best to go outside and turn the main breaker of the entire house. This will make you absolutely certain that you have killed the entire power to the home and that it is now safe to work on whatever it is you are planning to work on.
Residential electrical services: Fixing the light switch
This is the most common type of electrical issue that homeowners face. You might simply need to find a new switch similar to the one you are using currently. Before you step outside to buy the switch, identify which type it is: single pole, double pole or three way switches. The single pole is the most common type used and its connections are fairly easy. The double pole is rarely used these days and it has 2 extra terminals for hot wiring and controlling 240V. Some homes also have 3 way switches for controlling fixtures from 2 different places in the house.
Two more types of switches include dimmer and 4-way switches. There are many resources online that can show you how to replace and change these switches.
Residential electrical services: Replacing Outlets
Outlets can stop working due to whatever reasons after a few years of use. Most common types of outlets are Grounded, ungrounded and GFC. It is best to use the same type for replacing as the one currently in place. What you would not want to do is replace a grounded outlet with an ungrounded one and vice-a-versa.
To change the outlet, follow these steps:
- Remove the faceplate and screws
- Note where the inner wires are going.
- Now, simply reconnect the wires to the same spot on the new outlet.
- Reconnect the screws and the faceplate etc.
Things and tools you will need mainly include:
- Needle pliers
- New replacement switches or outlets.
- Electrical tape (optional)
Naturally, if you, at any time, feel that the procedure to replace the switch is difficult or you are unsure as to what goes where, it is best to seek the services of an electric professional. This will prevent many potential hassles and you would have the guarantee of doing the job in the most effective manner.