When it comes to electrical wiring repair project of any household, safety is the main concern. If you install an outlet with proper care and wiring, it is as safe as it can be; on the other hand improper installation can be potentially deadly.
That is the reason, there are so many rules that should be followed for electrical wiring and installations. Some of these rules can be complex and complicated, for sure, and confusing too even for the master electricians, but there are few of the basic concepts and practices that are applied on almost all kinds of electrical wiring projects, specially the DIY projects to tackle easily.
Test wires for power
The best and safest way to prevent from electric shock is to test all wires and devices for power before you start working with them or near them. It is not good enough to simply shut off the power. You can understand it by this cautionary tale. If you intend to replace the light fixtures, you shut off the power button to the circuit of the fixtures at the point of circuit breaker.
You will remove the fixture, exposing the electrical box, where there is a complicated wiring situation inside the box with four electrical cables. Two of them belong to fixture circuit, while other two belong to other circuit. If the electrician used the box as a junction box for another circuit which you didn’t shut off the power. You must have assumed that they are all the part of the same circuit but you are digging with live wires in the box.
If you test the power inside the electrical box it just takes few seconds with a non-contact voltage tester, in this way you would know that the wires still have power and you will have to find the circuit breaker and shut it off. So always test for power before starting working on the circuit wires.
Check amperage ratings
Receptacles come in various and different amperage ratings for instance, 20 amp for left and 15 amp for right. All kinds of electrical wires and devices have an amperage rating which is the maximum amount of electrical current that can be carried safely. When you are installing your wiring or devices or replacing them, no matter how many parts you use, all of them must have the appropriate amperage rating for the circuit.
Also make sure to choose the right amperage for your circuit that means, when you are replacing your switch, outlet receptacle or any light fixture, always make sure not to install the device that has more amperage rating than the circuits.
Tight wiring connections
Electricity always travels along conductors that include, wires and metal contacts of sockets and outlets. If the connection between conductors is tight enough, it will create smooth transition from one conductor to another.
On the other hand, loose connections may act like speed bumps, creating friction and heat and restricting the flow. If the connections is very loose, it will make electricity jump through the air from one conductor to another that can result in tremendous heating in the wires. You can prevent these situations by making sure that all the connections of wires are tight and have full contact of the conductors.
Respect grounding and polarization
Grounding and polarization are the most essential components to keep the modern electrical systems safe. Grounding basically provides safe path to the stray electrical current which is caused by any fault or any other problem in the circuit.
On the other hand, polarization makes sure that electrical current travels from the source along hot wires and returns to the source along neutral wires. So you need to follow the wiring diagram of the manufacturer whenever you are going to replace you fixtures and understand the home grounding system and use it to ensure polarization and grounding remain intact.
Enclose the box and clamp it
The national electrical code requires that all of the wiring connections in your home should be made in appropriate enclosure, which means electrical boxes should be enclosed, that help in protecting the connections and also protects people from any accidental contact that can happen with those connections. So never be lazy and don’t leave a splice exposed or unsecured.