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DIY electrical work? … think twice

DIYing has hit an all-time high and with renovation shows dominating our airwaves, we’ve become a culture of people who can use their Kiwi ingenuity coupled with a YouTube video to do almost anything. While we truly believe DIY culture is something that should be embraced, when it comes to electrical work there are no second chances and it is usually best to leave it to the experts.

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act (HSWA) property managers or landlords have a duty of care, so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved with or affected by work on or at their property – including work that they organise or are responsible for.

When it comes to electrical, WorkSafe warn us:

Never do any electrical work unless you are sure you have the skills and knowledge to do the job safely and legally. Accidents, and sometimes fatalities, can occur because people do not know what they are doing. Electrical work can be unsafe and illegal if it’s not done properly.

Here are a few things to watch out for…

Loose wiring is a common reason for flickering lamps and major cause of property fires. If you’ve got flickering lamps, turn the lamp of at the circuit and try replacing the bulb, if that doesn’t fix it then you could need to remove the fixing and tighten the wiring – something best left to an electrician.

Flickering is also commonly caused by old, faulty or incompatible switches or bulbs that are poor quality. Beware of cheap brands which are often available in DIY stores. When it comes to electrical components cheap is usually not best.

There is a reason why there is so much regulation around working at heights (even using ladders) and that’s due to the high number of accidents which occur. Because most lighting is above our heads, consider using two people for the job – or better still, have us replace your lamps.

Installing dimmers can be tricky, especially if you want to dim multiple lamps on one circuit because it’s not actually possible and will cause chaos to the circuit blowing bulbs and shorting circuits – an exercise which can be costly. If you’re not sure how to get your lamps to do what you want then have an electrician correctly wire your dimmers.

If you’ve installed new lighting, switches, or a fixed appliance and you’ve got a wire ‘left over’ then you’ve got a problem. Loose, live wires dangling behind the wall are not OK and mean you’ve probably missed something.

If you’re building or doing maintenance, even if it doesn’t involve electrical work, you’ll need to be aware of where your electrical wires are located throughout the property. Watch for screws or nails which could penetrate wires behind the wall – especially if you’re working with metal as it could become live.

If you’ve embarked on an electrical project that hasn’t gone to plan, give us a call on 09 414 0030 – we’ll be happy to talk you through your options. Remember, if in doubt, the best thing to do is switch the power off entirely and call an expert.

Further reading:

https://worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-media/always-turn-power-off-when-carrying-out-electrical-work/

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