D.I….Why isn’t this working?
3 Electrical Home Improvement Jobs Best Left to a Professional (And 3 You Can Tackle Yourself)
By Victoria Figueiredo
We’ve all had it happen. We think we can save a chunk of change by taking on an at-home project ourselves. We suit up, tell the kids to go play in the yard for an hour or two, tie back our hair, pull out the drill and get to work, only to leave our project half completed or, worse yet, have it come crashing down on the dinner table even though we’re positive we followed the instructional video we found on YouTube down to the letter.
Some things you can D.I.Y. easily. That table you thrifted that you’re sure you’d love if only it was a different color? Search Pinterest for inspiration, sand that sucker down, and slap some paint on it! Job done, you’ve saved a few bucks, and everyone is happy. But let’s face it – there are some things that you just need to hire a professional for, especially when it comes to electrical issues. The good news is you have us to take the guesswork out of the equation for you! Here’s a list of the top three repairs or installations you should invest in – and the top three things you can do yourself with just a trip to the hardware store.
Time To Hit Up Home Depot, Because You’re Putting on Your Tool Belt for These Tasks:
1. Updating Switch Plates
Switch plate covers can really make or break a room. A lot of times, covers that are made of plastic will start to yellow with age and can become an eye sore. No need to call up a professional for this one! You can head right on over to your local hardware store and pick out new outlet covers that suit the design of your room better than the old ones did. Just pop off the old covers, screw on the new ones (being careful not to stick your screwdriver into your actual outlet because, as much as we love you and your can-do attitude, we’re not taking the blame for that trip to the emergency room) and you’re all good to go! Enjoy the look of an oft-overlooked but essential detail in your decorating scheme.
2. Changing Light Bulbs
No, we’re not going to tell you a joke about how many twenty-somethings it takes to screw in a light bulb (the answer is one, but he’ll need another three on standby to get the right shot for Instagram). This might seem like the easiest job in the world, but there are so many cool light bulbs on the market that it warrants discussion. Have you considered getting some color-changing, smart, or Edison bulbs to up the cool factor in your home? Just order them online, buy them in-store, or download the necessary app and suddenly your lamps and overhead lights are totally snapshot worthy! You can skip the professional help for this one, but we’d love to see what you end up choosing.
3. Switching Globes
Globe covers are one of objects that you see all the time, but you have no idea what they’re called, like the plastic things at the end of your shoelaces. You know, the big glass or plastic cover that goes on overhead lights so they’re not just a bare bulb on your ceiling? Those things. More often than not, globe covers look kind of old and outdated, even when they come standard in an apartment or house that was built recently. Luckily, the solution for this issue is simple. Run out to a home goods store, a hardware store, Ikea if you feel like ending your current relationship, or wherever you know they sell cool light fixtures, and pick out one of the many designer globes on display. They come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and materials, and they can seriously become a conversation piece in your home. Pick whichever one floats your boat and spend half an hour installing it. You have a lot to say about your ceiling now, huh?
Start Looking Through Yelp for Help With These Tasks:
1. Fan Installation
Maybe your uncle who’s pretty handy with a screwdriver heard about your plans to replace the fan in your bedroom and stepped in to offer his help. Nice guy, your uncle. Turn him down immediately and call up a licensed electrician, and take your uncle out to a nice lunch instead. It may seem like a quick job that anyone can do, but some of the service calls we get most frequently are from people who notice their fan precariously jiggling around as it cools the room, or from people who heard a huge crash in the middle of the night. You guessed it – fan on the loose!
Avoid the headache and the giant hole in your ceiling – call up your local electrician and have them do the job right the first time. No jiggling, no risk of concussion, and (best of all) you don’t have to lift a finger!
2. Outlet Repairs and Updates
This might be the most important thing on this list. Do not change out your own outlets!!! Not only are you risking burning down your entire home, you’re playing a game we like to call Shock Wire – touch it and you die! Or burn yourself. But let’s be honest, a bad burn feels like the end of the world anyway. Instead of trying to fix up your own outlets, just call in the people who know how to do it properly, without putting their lives on the line. Spend a little more on the service and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your Beanie Baby collection won’t be going up in flames any time soon.
3. Diagnosing Issues, Running Wire, Panel Changes…
Okay, so there are a lot more than three things you shouldn’t take on yourself when it comes to electrical work. Unless you have a license that proves you understand the intricacies of current flow, circuits, what kind of wire to use when, and so on and so forth, it’s best if you just sit back and watch a professional wiggle himself behind your walls to figure out why your washer and dryer keep tripping. You wouldn’t perform open heart surgery on yourself, so why do the equivalent when it comes to your home? Luckily, most jobs don’t require a huge investment or a lot of man hours, especially if you get an electrician over before you start tinkering on your own. Find your local electrician (Lucky Devil Electric, if you’re especially fortunate) and have them take a look at what’s going on!