10 Handy Hints for DIY Electrical Work

Most electrical projects that need doing around the house, particularly the smaller ones, can be done yourself. With some help from modern technology, like videos and online guides, there are very few small projects that will require help from professionals.


If you have a few projects planned for the upcoming holiday season, here are ten handy hints to help you complete these effectively and efficiently. The number one thing to remember is to switch off your main power supply when you’re working with electricity – your safety must always come first.

Hide Your Cords Beautifully

Even though you can buy almost anything in a cordless version these days, sometimes it is just easier to choose the option that plugs into the power source directly. That eliminates the need for batteries and chargers, and more often than not, you will eventually forget to charge something that you need to use.

When working with electrical cables from your T.V or games console, it is a great idea to build trunking into your design. These handy helpers will hide your cables neatly in one place so that they do not become an eyesore or a tripping hazard.

Use Power Strips

Power strips are one of the handiest inventions of the Modern Age. These strips often come equipped with trip switches built in that protect your strip from overloading when too many things are in use. This safety feature is vital for preventing fires and damage to your appliances.

Power strips are one of the easiest ways to plug in more items without needing to install an extra plug point to your home’s wiring.

Use a Radio to Test Your Electrical Board

When you move into an older house, especially ones that require a bit of TLC, you might notice that your electrical board is somewhat confusing at first. When testing the various circuit breakers, it is easier to plug in a radio and then switch off each breaker until you find the one that powers that particular set of plugs.

If you find that some of the existing ones are faulty, you can buy replacement Federal Pacific breakers and have an electrician install them for you.

Labeled Circuit Breakers

Once you have tested your home’s circuit breakers in the step above, you will want to label them for future reference. An easy way to do this in a relatively small space is to number each one. The circuit breakers are often already numbered on your electrical board. If they are not, then you can easily do this yourself.

You will want to keep a record of what number breaker powers which section of your home. That helps when an appliance causes a short and trips the breaker. Knowing which area of your home is causing the problem makes it easier to isolate and repair.

Circuit Breaker Visibility

Dab a tiny blob of painter’s caulk on the number and rub over it with your finger. This will make the number far more visible. If you want to, you could even use glow-in-the-dark paint. Most of the time, if you’re trying to locate your circuit breakers in the middle of the night, it is because of a power outage.

Solder Wires the Smart Way

Create a smart soldering stand for whenever you need to solder wires or other equally finicky bits. All you need is a piece of wood, two 7-inch lengths of coat-hanger wire, and some alligator clips to crimp on the ends of each wire. Drill two holes into the wood and feed in the wires until you can fix them in place.

You now have two spots to lay your wire over before you begin soldering it. This is a much easier and much safer solution than trying to hold everything in two hands and solder at the same time.

Always Keep Liquid Electrical Tape

Liquid electrical tape is a synthetic rubber coating which can be painted onto electrical wires instead of using traditional insulation tape. The liquid version provides fantastic acid, abrasion ,moisture, dielectric resistance ability.

It is available in different colors to match your existing cables or to color-code your process. It is a relatively inexpensive solution; the only con to using it is that it requires time to try. You should not use the cable again until it has fully dried.

Protect Your Walls When Soldering Pipes

When you do enough work with soldering, you soon realize that unless you are careful a lot of damage can be done to the areas around where you solder. When it comes to soldering pipes in your home, be sure to always protect your walls and the spaces around the area where you will be doing the work.

A silicone burn mat should suffice, but feel free to use whatever option you are most comfortable with. Before you start any soldering work, make sure that you have a good quality extinguisher nearby. That’s not to say you don’t know what you’re doing, it just means that accidents do happen to the best of us and you need to stay safe.

Wear Rubber Footwear

Even if you turn off your main electrical supply; you will still need to wear rubber footwear whenever you are doing any sort of electrical work around the house. Most appliances and plug points will still hold some form of charge, even if the main power flow is off.

Rubber shoes will prevent you from being statically charged and stop you from getting an unwanted new hairstyle or worse if things go awry.

Have the Right Tools

Before embarking on any new electrical project, make sure that you have access to the right set of tools for the job. Things to consider purchasing if you don’t already have them include, voltage and cable detectors, a cordless drill, a wire/cable stripper, and a good quality pair of pliers. This will help you to finish your projects and save you time.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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