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When it’s Electrical, don’t ‘Do It Yourself’

Time and time again electricians are called out to a job which, after fault finding, it’s revealed that the source of the problem was actually a DIY’er. There are of course many reasons for carrying out your own electrical work, the main ones being that you save money and that you won’t be inconvenienced by the time availability of the electrician that you choose to carry out the work. Saving money and not losing valuable leave from your place of work equates to a lot of corner cutting.

Even so, it is our experience that is called on time and time again when, instead of calling in a professional electrician Ashgrove residents put their homes and families at risk by carrying out the work of certified tradies themselves.

Most of the DIY jobs that get carried out around the house are fairly straightforward, and by that we mean that you do the preparation, schedule time to carry out the work, get it done, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. These types of jobs require no certification, checking by the council, permits to carry out the work and so on. Basically, your work isn’t going to be verified by an inspector.

Electrical work is different. It does require a level of competence and knowledge, and to carry out licenced work it also needs certified training and a work permit ensuring the electrician is certified to perform that specific kind of work. By hiring an experienced professional, you essentially remove the need to have your work certified because it’s a part of an electrician’s responsibility to ensure that the work is done to the required standard. So, when they do it, it’s fine. When you do it, it’s not.

As the saying goes that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’. Taking on jobs that you know very little about is basically unwise. Would you consider piloting an airplane, maybe fronting court as a judge, or taking apart the TV in order to repair its circuit board? Probably not, so in what world do people think that its okay to rewire their own kitchen to fit some extra power points, or to install a new fan in the bedroom, or maybe install some new lighting? The ‘little knowledge’ becomes a dangerous thing because you only know a certain amount about what can go wrong, but it’s the bit that you don’t know about which can have serious repercussions.

It is widely known amongst hospital staff that falls are the most common cause of death through unintentional injury. Nearly half of all falls that have led to death by injury in the past ten years have been from ladders. Death by electrocution is close behind on the list of other causes. The reality with electrical work is that people are dabbling with death. The Australian standard of 230 volts is plenty enough to kill a person, and even though you might think that you are following all of the right procedures by closing off the power at the switchboard before you start work, the problem is that much like you, someone just as inexperienced could have performed similar work before you did, and you’ve no idea whether they did it properly or not. Turning the power back on, even when you think you’ve done everything correctly, might just be the last thing you do. Period.

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