Working with electricity can be dangerous, everyone knows that but you probably want to save money by taking care of a few easy tasks all by yourself. Perhaps a few bulb holders need to be changed or you want to find out why your fans are not turning on.
While these tasks may look simple and not really a job meant for an electrician who will charge you upwards of $100, these are equally dangerous tasks. The wrong move can send around 200 Volts of current through your body causing in extreme cases heart failure. This is why even though these tasks may come across as being easy you still want to take the right safety precautions. Below we take a look at what safety measures should be taken.
Always wear gloves
Every electrician regardless of how experienced they are know the value of a good quality gloves when working with electricity. Since you will be touching wires with your hands (obviously) wearing gloves reduces the chance of electric wires coming into contact with your skin. This prevents your body from receiving a devastating electric shock.
Wearing gloves is also important because it protects your skin from sharp and pointy wires which may get lodged within it. Being able to work without the fear of getting injured, especially your hands injured will help you do a much better job and these gloves do not cost a lot.
Turn off the main supply
Even though a professional electrician if you are observing him or her will rarely turn off the mains to work on replacing a switch or your light bulb holder but that is because they are professionals. These people have probably replaced over a thousand light bulb holders and switches so they know exactly how to handle the electricity in the wires and protect their exposed parts at all times.
However, as a weekend DIY electrician you need to take every step to ensure that you are protected and this includes turning off the mains. Turn off the mains prior to even unscrewing the switchboard, this will prevent sparking which as a consequence can cause a fire.
Wear rubber boots or shoes
Remember that you need to keep yourself insulated at all times. Never work on a switch board or with anything electrical barefoot, because if you do you will receive an electric shock. If you don’t have shoes or boots rubber slippers are fine too, but you need to make sure that you don’t touch the floor anytime you are handling electrical wiring.
Always use a multi-meter to check for current
There are many DIY electricians who use what is called the ‘spark test’ to see if there is current flowing through a pair of wires. The spark test is really just touching two wires together to see if they spark in which case there is current flowing through. However, the spark test is dangerous and has been known to cause personal harm, in some cases start a fire. When working with electricity you never want any type of sparks flying around let alone do a spark test.
Always use a high quality AC multi-meter to check both the current and how much current is flowing. Multi-meters are cheap and they are well insulated so they will never cause any personal harm. Even professional electricians advise against using any type of spark test to check for current.
Wear full sleeves and a proper long pant
You may have seen people in the movies or perhaps your next door neighbor fixing his tube light with no shirt and shorts on and thought it was perfectly OK. The fact is that when your body is exposed you are exposed to electric shock, anytime a wire hangs down to touch your feet or your neck it can end up landing you in the hospital. This is why experienced electricians like Speedy Electrical advise that people wear proper clothing when working with electricity.
As a matter of fact the company strongly advises against people working with electricity on their own because of the danger they are putting themselves in anytime something goes wrong or the wrong step is taken to fix something.
Mark is one of the leading authorities on electricity and electrical work. He started working as an electrician in Sydney almost fifteen years ago when he retired as an electrician from the Navy. Today he runs one of the most successful electrician services in the country catering to jobs of every type and size. This has resulted in him being on the speed dial of most households.