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2 Mistakes To Avoid When Working On Your Home's Electrical Wiring

by Sara Cook

Whether you are switching out an old outlet or installing a new light switch, you may believe that the job is simple enough to perform yourself. However, whenever you are working with electrical wiring, there are a couple of mistakes that you should avoid to help make the job easier as well as keep your home safe from potential electrical fires.

Neglecting to Leave Enough Wire Length to Work with

One mistake that should be avoided when you are working with electrical wiring is neglecting to leave enough of the wire to work with. If you measure the exact length of new wire or cut off the ends of existing wires, you may not leave enough slack to allow for twisting the ends together to form a connection.

When this happens, a couple of issues may arise. First, if you are unable to make a complete, stable connection, the wires may pull apart. This could then allow the electricity running through the wires to spark or arc, which increases the risk of an electrical fire.

Second, if you do not have enough slack with which to work, you may find yourself having to pull the wires to make the ends meet. When you pull on the wires, you may disconnect them from other junctions or even break them.

Make sure you always leave a couple of inches with which to work. If the wires are too short to make a connection, you may need to have new wires installed by an electrician.

Leaving Any Bare Metal Exposed When Connecting Wires

Another mistake that you should avoid when working with wiring is leaving any bare metal exposed when connecting them. Electrical wiring has a plastic, insulating coating around it to keep the electrical current from arcing outside of the wire while it runs through it. However, to make a connection, you need to remove the coating from the ends.

If you strip off too much of the coating, you may have bare metal exposed after twisting them together and placing the wire nut to secure the connection. While wrapping the exposed ends with electrical tape is an option, the tape may unravel over time. Strip off a little bit at a time, and never strip off any length longer than the nut to ensure full coverage.

Even when you avoid the above mistakes while working on your home's electrical wiring, you may find it difficult to make the proper connections to ensure the job is done safely. Instead of trying to do it yourself, consider contacting an electrician to have them perform any required wiring work for you.