Attention DIYers - Electricity Kills!
Tuesday, 06 November 2007

I belong to a large on-line community dedicated to Christmas Decorating.  Every week or so someone posts about their next 'electrical' project, or asks a question that plainly points out that they have NO CLUE when it comes to being safe with electricity.

I want you to know that I am ALL FOR DIY work.  I think most 'professionals' charge WAY to much money for the work they do.  With a little bit of experience - perhaps working next to someone who has done that type of work before - almost anyone can save some big $'s doing it themselves.

The problem comes when the DIYer doesn't know his/her limits, or doesn't have the experience to do the work SAFELY.  For some projects, the worst that can happen when you jump in over your head is a bruised ego.  Crooked molding, a leaky pipe, or a paint drip are not life threatening.

On the other hand, there are typically NO second chances when it comes to working with electricity.  Please, if you have NEVER worked with electricity before - now is NOT the time to start!  If you don't have a basic understanding of the codes - or more important WHY those codes were written in the first place - DON'T do it yourself!

I've seen people post about upgrading their outdoor circuits by changing out their 20A breakers for 50s (keeping their 14 AWG wire, and 15A plugs of course), using a ground wire as a shared neutral for 2 15A circuits (and didn't know if they wired it correctly, used polarized plugs, or if the neutral was large enough), and all the IDIOTS who pull out their GFCIs because they can't run their Christmas lights in the rain.

Please, take this simple word of advice:  If you need to ask a question about something electrical chances are you should be calling a pro BEFORE you kill yourself!