Spoiler alert: It may take a couple, but one of them probably shouldn’t be you
At last count, there were 7,459 DIY home improvement shows on TV. (That number came from a quick poll in our office, so it might be a tad high.) And while there’s nothing wrong with watching skilled or not-so-skilled people try to do all sorts of things to their homes, the problem is that it often fills many watchers with delusions of grandeur.
How hard could this be, says Joe DIY. I got a B+ in woodshop in 9th grade, so putting in my own deck or tearing down a wall to finally get my breakfast nook should be a piece of cake, right?
If you’ve ever done a Google search for “DIY home improvement fails,” you already have the answer to this question. Unfortunately, even when people know they should call in the pros, in many cases, they decide to do things themselves, including when it involves the electrical panel.
What is the electric panel, anyway?
You know that gray metal box mounted to the wall of your basement or garage? That’s your electrical panel, which is often called a fuse box.
This is the hub for all the juice running through your home. It connects the wire outside your house to all the wires inside that supply power to your stuff. This is a very important part of your electrical system.
Sometimes, the panel stops working properly due to age or other factors. If you’ve been experiencing things like circuit breakers tripping frequently or maybe the lights flicker when an appliance is turned on, there’s a good chance something is up with your electrical panel. And while you may be adept at flipping switches, figuring out what’s wrong with the panel – or actually replacing it – is something else entirely.
Why DIY is not A-Okay
It doesn’t matter how many YouTube videos you watch or how much advice you get from your aunt who once dated an electrician. If you don’t have electrical training, you shouldn’t tackle this type of project on your own. Why?
You could die
That may be a little overdramatic, but it’s the truth. Whenever you deal with anything involving wiring, there’s a chance for electrocution. Plus, when you add in materials like wood or drywall, this creates a fire hazard.
You probably won’t be up to code
Quick: Do you know what NFPA stands for? If you said National Flying Penguin Administration, you’re way off, for several reasons, one of which is because – and not a lot of people know this – penguins don’t fly.
The real NFPA actually stands for National Fire Protection Association, which is an organization that has created strict electrical codes that have to be followed. There are also local and state codes that have to be adhered to. If they aren’t, in addition to putting yourself in danger (see above), your handy work many invalidate your homeowner’s insurance.
You may waste quite a bit of money
Most DIYers take on projects themselves because they think it will save them money. Guess what? They will.
Of course, the job has to be done perfectly, everything needs to be up to code, and, most importantly, you can’t die (funerals are costly, you know).
But when things go wrong and you need to bring in a professional, that simple replacement that was originally called for has turned into a lengthy – and much more expensive – project.
Now that you know you shouldn’t be messing around with the electrical panel, you need to know who to call when you’re having a problem, and that’s where we come in. No matter what the issue may be, the pros at Universal Electrical will diagnose it and give you an expert repair or replacement.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us.