6 Online Tools for Do-it-Yourself Electricians

A doorbell that doesn’t quite ring the way it’s supposed to, a new TV that needs to be hooked up, and simple outdoor lights that need fixing, are projects that do-it-yourself electricians can complete by themselves at home. If there are a few projects around your house that you would like to get started on, head online to find help. Apart from the important safety procedures, there are many other resources available for DIY electricians.

Remember: Safety First!

Before beginning any electrical project, make sure you have the proper tools and the knowledge to see the project all the way through. There are some common safety tips, such as turning off circuit breakers before working on home electricity and not working when you are standing in water, that will help keep you, your family, and your house safe. There are some problems, however, that should only be handled by professionals. These include downed power lines, electrical wires that are wet, outlets that spark, appliances that emit a burning smell, or circuit breakers and fuses that give continual problems.

Educating yourself about electrical codes and terms before a project can help ensure the project goes smoothly. The National Electrical Code is essential for larger projects. There are periodic webinars and seminars through the National Fire Protection Association on the NEC. OSHA also provides a list of common electric terms; while you read through instructions, you can check this glossary. You will probably not need to know how to read a circuit diagram for easier home projects, but knowing circuit symbols can be helpful if you start a larger project.

Prevent Electrical Hazards

One of the best things you can do is to prevent electrical problems, before they get too big to take care of. Using light bulbs that match the wattage given on lamps, using ground fault circuit interrupters, and only plugging large appliances into the wall instead of extension cords, can help prevent problems. The National Fire Protection Association has a complete list of electrical safety tips that will prevent mishaps.

Aging homes often have a difficult time keeping up with the drain of modern appliances and electronics that are plugged into older outlets. Older homes may need special care to avoid electrical hazards. Having a home inspected by a qualified electrician may help you prevent future problems.

Get Help Online

Here are some resources that will help you with your projects:

This Old House: This resource helps people find electrical products for their home, as well as install, upgrade, and repair electrical wiring.

Self Help & More: This site is great for helping people with slightly more complicated home electrical tasks.

Do It Yourself: This guide provides help for wiring projects, electrical repairs, safety tips, tools and supplies, home security, and even electrical history.

Realtor.com: This is a great resource for articles on how to install basics like door chimes and floodlights, as well as do it yourself instructions for other projects around the house.