Owning a home comes with many responsibilities. One important aspect of ownership is learning how to handle maintenance and repairs in order to keep things in working order.
There are plenty of situations where it is great to do the work yourself, but there are also times when you need to hire a professional.
When it comes to your electrical system, it is almost always better to rely on the help of a trained electrician.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of DIY electrical work, and when you should hire an electrician. We’ll look at cost, quality of work, and other elements that you need to consider when deciding how to handle a project.
Table of Contents:
I. DIY: The Pros
The biggest advantage of doing any kind of repair work yourself is that you’ll save a significant amount of money on labor costs.
You can select the parts you need and make sure you only spend what you can afford, and in addition to hourly costs you’ll avoid the base fee professionals charge for an appointment.
You’ll learn more about how your home works, and also get the satisfaction and pride of a job well done.
These factors motivate many people to attempt the work themselves, even when it may not be the best choice.
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II. DIY: The Cons
Unless you are an electrician yourself, there are dozens of reasons that doing your electrical work without experience and training is a bad idea. They all circle back to the fact that you’re not trained to do the work.
Unskilled electrical work could result in faulty wiring and other improper repairs. You could even cause more damage than there was to begin with. At worst, you could hurt yourself badly or create a situation that causes serious damage to your home.
It might sound dramatic, but electrical work can literally kill you if you’re not careful. Naturally, this is the biggest disadvantage to doing your own electrical work. You are putting yourself and your family at serious risk of electrical shock and electrocution.
If all seems well at first, it’s no guarantee of safety in the long run. Wiring mistakes can lead to shorts and fires that could damage or even destroy your home. It’s not an idle threat; in the United States, poor electrical work is a leading cause of house fires.
Plus, there’s no warranty when you do the work yourself. If something goes wrong again or you continue to have problems, you will have to hire someone to fix the issue anyway. That could end up costing a lot more than if you’d just hired them in the first place.
Electrical work can also be a stressful and time-consuming process. Unless you have a lot of time and energy to devote to the project, it might be too much to handle. When you need something fixed right away, or you just can’t afford to put more stress on yourself, DIY is the wrong way to go.
One of the biggest considerations in doing your own work, assuming you’re able to do so safely, is making sure the work is up to code. Electricians are well-versed in the code that is in place to keep your systems functional and safe, and they should take responsibility for following it to the letter. DIY work, even if done effectively and safely, can still be against code. That can come up as a problem in future inspections—if, for example, you decide to sell the home.
Beyond basic maintenance—think changing a lightbulb or resetting a flipped circuit breaker—you should always rely on professionals for electrical work.
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III. Why You Should Hire a Professional Electrician
The only real con to hiring a professional is the cost. Electrical work might be a bit more expensive than you would prefer; however, like any home repair service, it’s an investment, not just an expense. You are investing in keeping your home functional and safe by taking care of the electrical system.
In terms of safety, the only good choice is to hire electricians for whatever work you need done. They are licensed, trained, and experienced to handle the system and avoid the risks of electrical shocks, severe injury, and death. They also have the right tools for the job.
A professional electrician or electrical repair service will provide a warranty or some type of guarantee for the work that they do. Whether it’s a simple repair or a full rewiring, the best companies will stand behind their work and make sure that you are protected in the future in case anything goes wrong that is out of your control. They know exactly what needs to be done and can often find better solutions and save you money at the same time if you give them the chance.
Professionals are also insured and bonded to protect you (and themselves) from liability or injury on the job.
Professionals have a dedicated schedule that is only focused on fixing your electrical problems. They won’t have to take weeks to finish the repair between other responsibilities. They can often come out on the same day and make repairs within an hour or two, as long as there isn’t a major issue going on.
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IV. Hire the Right Professional
Of course, you can’t hire just anyone who says they’re an electrician. Hiring the wrong person is almost as risky as doing it yourself, so make sure that you’re doing your homework to find the best electrician for the job.
Good electricians should be 1) licensed, 2) bonded, 3) experienced, and 4) insured. They should be able to provide you with references and give you all of the answers that you need. Their transparency will prove their reputability, saving you from the dangers of bad electrical repair.
If you need to save money, consider having work done in the off season when you can. You should also ask about discounts and price matching or see what kind of specials are available. Often, companies want to attract new customers, so they will offer specials for first-timers.
You could also consider hiring smaller companies that have only one or two employees, which may not only save your budget, but also help the small business economy.
No matter how you go about it, the point is clear: hire an electrician for any electrical work that you need to have done. It’s safer, it’s smarter, and it will give you the best results no matter what the job might be.
Stick to less dangerous projects around the house and leave risky electrical work to the pros.
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