A lot of people think that they can handle the task of electrical wiring on their own, but if you’ve never worked with electricity before, you should be aware of common electrical mistakes that can lead to major disasters.
Even the simplest jobs can result in a disastrous accident if you don’t know what you’re doing. Overloading an outlet can cause a circuit to short out, and you’ll want to ensure that the electrical box you’re using is rated for the amount of power it’s carrying.
If you’re working with appliances in your kitchen, for example, you should get a dedicated circuit for these devices. The most common mistakes are a lack of grounding, which is an important safety measure. Having a ground wire in place channels electrical surges harmlessly into the earth.
Be careful when you are doing the electrical work on your own. Here is the list of the ten common mistakes DIYers make when working with electrical boxes. You need to avoid these mistakes.
Ten Most Common Electrical Mistakes DIYers Make In Electrical Box
When it comes to electrical work, you need to be very careful. Nowadays, many people go for DIY electrical work. However, there are some common mistakes they make. These mistakes can be fatal and need to be avoided. Here is the list of 10 common mistakes DIYers make.
- Connections Outside The Box
One of the most common electrical mistakes is making connections outside of the box. This is especially dangerous if you are using a new outlet in a room where there are other wires running through it. When wiring a new device, it’s important to make sure the hot and neutral wires are not crossed. In order to ensure the safety of the circuit, the wires should extend three inches beyond the box. Overfilling the box with wires can cause sparks and short-circuiting, which are extremely dangerous. The best way to avoid this electrical mistake is to purchase an appropriate size box. In addition to buying a box that is the correct size, you also need to make sure that the length of the wires is sufficient.
- Installing a Three-Slot Receptacle without a Ground Wire
When installing a three-slot receptacle, be sure to install a ground wire. This wire is needed for outlets that are plugged into the wall. It also protects the electrical equipment from being damaged by the electricity. The three-slot receptacles have two slots vertically; the top slot represents the hot wire, and the bottom slot represents the neutral one. You should also include a ground wire because it serves as a failsafe. The ground wire allows electricity to travel safely back to the panel instead of channeling into nearby people and materials.
- Cutting Wires Short
Cutting wires too short can be dangerous and make it difficult to make proper connections. Always leave at least three inches of insulation on the ends of the wires. To fix this problem, add six-inch extensions to the wires. Also, use an insulation stripper to remove one inch of insulation from the end of the wires. Cut the wires to the required length before connecting them to the electrical box. When connecting wires, remember that the length should meet code requirements. This will prevent accidental damage and sparks from loose connections. You can also use proper wire terminators to add length to the wires.
- Leaving Cable Unprotected
Leaving plastic-sheathed cables unprotected is a common electrical error. When the cable is not protected, it will break, arc, or cause a fire hazard. To prevent this, cover the exposed cable with a 1/2-inch-thick board or metal conduit. It is not necessary to staple the board to the plastic-sheathed cable. If the cable is too short to be anchored to the board, the wires must be covered with conduit materials. If the cables are exposed in framing locations, they can become dangerous. A good way to avoid leaving plastic-sheathed cable unprotected is to attach a small board over the exposed cable. This will help to ensure that it is tightly secured.
- Poor Support for Switches and Outlets
This common electrical mistake involves the framing area not supporting the wires correctly. If the box has a space for 6 inches, add the extensions. The cables should be protected from damage and run over a small board or plastic sheath. Make sure the switch is not lost. A loosely connected switch can be dangerous. Connect the switch correctly to offer support.
- Installing Cable without a Clamp
Do-it-yourself electricians often install cables without a clamp. This mistake puts strain on connections and can result in a twisted mess. It also exposes the wires to sharp edges, which can tear the insulation. Single-plastic boxes do not require cable clamps, and stapling should only be done within eight inches of the box. The larger boxes should come with built-in clamps so that there is no need for additional hardware.
- Recessing Boxes Behind the Wall Surface
Recessed boxes are an electrical hazard and should not be mounted behind combustible wall surfaces. The wood behind the box is exposed to sparks and heat and could be a fire hazard. To prevent this problem, you should extend the wires from the box by 6 inches. You can purchase a 6-inch extension kit from a hardware store.
- Wiring a GFCI Backward
It’s easy to wire a GFCI backward, which will turn the outlets ‘hot’ and ‘neutral’ – which is a serious problem. In a backward configuration, the power supply wires will energize the wrong components and cause electrocution. It also won’t work properly, causing the voltage to flow and a ground fault. Fortunately, this is a very simple mistake and can be corrected with some basic information and the help of a circuit tester.
- Overfilling Electrical Boxes
Overfilling Electrical Boxes is incredibly important. This common mistake can result in circuit failure and damage to wire insulation, leading to a potential fire hazard. It can also cause your electrical devices to malfunction due to a lack of dissipation of heat.
- Reversing Hot and Neutral Wires
This is a common electrical wiring mistake that is very dangerous. You should never reverse the wires, even if the outlet is not receptacle-based. It is a common electrical wiring mistake that causes severe injury. It is very easy to fix by simply reversing the wires upstream. However, it is essential to be very careful when doing this because the outcome can be fatal.