Is it ever safe for diyers to do electrical repairs – featured topics – page 2 – diy chatroom home improvement forum gas and bloating after every meal

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I will change outlets, switches, fixtures and appliances but I know where to draw the line, for instance when my breaker panel needed to be replaced. While I fully understood the mechanics and the process involved, I also knew beyond any doubt I was not qualified to perform the work and doing so was not worth the risk to my life.

Here is a bit of humor with regards to the aforementioned breaker panel replacement. When the electrician whet to reconnect the mains to the meter base I told him to wait. I went back into the garage and grabbed a four-foot 2×4 out of my wood rack. I went back out to the meter, stood to one side of him and told him to “Ok, go ahead”. He completely understood what I was doing. He smiled and said “thank you” and then proceeded to connect the live wires.

For anyone who does not understand, I had the 2×4 in case something went wrong and he accidentally touched off the 220v line. If instead of getting thrown the electricity grabbed him, I would use the 2×4 to knock him away from the wire. NEVER grab a person who is holding a live voltage line.

I will change outlets, switches, fixtures and appliances but I know where to draw the line, for instance when my breaker panel needed to be replaced. While I fully understood the mechanics and the process involved, I also knew beyond any doubt I was not qualified to perform the work and doing so was not worth the risk to my life.

Here is a bit of humor with regards to the aforementioned breaker panel replacement. When the electrician whet to reconnect the mains to the meter base I told him to wait. I went back into the garage and grabbed a four-foot 2×4 out of my wood rack. I went back out to the meter, stood to one side of him and told him to “Ok, go ahead”. He completely understood what I was doing. He smiled and said “thank you” and then proceeded to connect the live wires.

For anyone who does not understand, I had the 2×4 in case something went wrong and he accidentally touched off the 220v line. If instead of getting thrown the electricity grabbed him, I would use the 2×4 to knock him away from the wire. NEVER grab a person who is holding a live voltage line.

In two of the four homes I’ve owned, I’ve upgraded from either 100 or 150 amp service panels to 200 amp panels, doing everything but reconnecting the new meter myself after getting the requisite guidance from the Power Company and plant electricians where I worked. I received nothing but compliments from the inspectors and Power Co. folks doing the final re-connects for me. I’ve also learned how to re-wire circuits for higher loads and add circuits to the main panel throughout the house. I’ve never done any three phase stuff, though, and not sure I want to, but I’m willing to dig into it to see if that hits my "limitations" because I really want to upgrade my shop to include a couple of three-phase motors on some new and larger woodworking equipment. My home sale inspectors have also always been quite complimentary of my work. It CAN be done right and properly by DIYers, but it takes very pointed precautionary prep education before attempting the work.

Thus far, the only time I knew I had hit my limit was when we ended up with a really strange scenario of partial power in my 240v circuits one Sunday morning. I immediately called in a professional sparky (electrician), and he quickly determined that one of the main underground leads coming to the house had a short in it, so we shut the house panel down, called the Power Company, and they had me up and running within 4 hours on a temporary power pack until they could get the underground wired spliced the next morning.

In my early (and young & stupid) days, I’ve done light switches while hot, and WILL NOT do that any more. I even tried doing some receptacle replacements while hot, and I’ll NEVER do that again either. I’ve worked on circuits after throwing what I THOUGHT was the right breaker and then NOT tested… and I WILL NOT do that any more either! The biggest thing I’ve learned is to TEST 100% of the work you open up — AT LEAST TWICE — before ever touching it.

Relying on your comfort level is not enough because your comfort level may be driven by ignorant over-confidence, and that can get you hurt or killed on the spot, or even worse can create a fire which can be even more devastating. You must KNOW that you REALLY KNOW what you’re doing and ALWAYS TEST and RETEST BEFORE TOUCHING!