Ever tried making a simple electrical circuit by just Googling how to do it? Working with electricity is not an easy task, but with the help of how-to guides and DIY tutorials available online at the click of a button, one can save on hiring an electrician for common electrical repairs and improvements around the house.
However, as cost-effective and hands- on as this approach might appear, all projects may not quite go as planned, and might even be dangerous if not administered carefully. So, sometimes, it becomes important to call an expert technician to fix issues with your electrical circuits.
A common quick-fix is electrical tape, and do-it-yourselves often use lots of electrical tapes to twist and hold together wires. This poses a serious risk of bad and loose connections that can become fire hazards.
Another common DIY that often leads to disaster are ceiling fans, which when not installed properly by a trained electrician might come crashing down off the hinge. Using the wrong kind of wire for switches and outlets that cannot sustain the volts passing through it can overheat the wires, melt the insulation, and cause a fire. With multiple coloured wires, do-it-yourselves find themselves running into trouble. The trippers might start breaking; something they’ve pulled apart might not be replaceable.
Often, it can be found that spending money on a professional during initial stages of setup can help you prevent having to spend much more post an accident.
Sometimes it’s not the best situation to have to learn only when you’ve made a mistake, had an accident, or ruined expensive equipment. We thought we’d share some screw-up experiences with you so that something good comes out of a botched up project!
Here are some funny experiences, some interesting solutions, some narrow escapes and some advice to help you stay alert during your next home-appliance project!
- ATTENTION TO DETAIL: KEEP YOU EYE OUT FOR THE UNEXPECTED!
“Recently, I helped my brother install a new motion sensor light in his mother-in-law’s bathroom. We managed the setting so the light would stay on for ten minutes when it was activated and then turn off. In the adjacent bedroom, the bed was positioned such that she could easily get up to use the bathroom in the evenings and also at night. About 7 days went by before she started telling that the light stayed on most of the night. I then shut the doors on the bathroom and realized it worked properly. After a little more investigation, I found the culprit. She had put up a small digital picture frame on her dresser. Every time a new pic flashed on, it activated the sensor of the light. I moved the frame to yet another location, and the problem was finally solved!”
- READ INSTRUCTION MANUALS FULLY!
“I was in a hurry to get a new ceiling fan installed before my wife got home. I finished the wiring just as she walked through the door. I flipped the switch, readying myself for her admiration and appreciation. The fan spun faster and faster and faster, before crashing to the floor! While cleaning up the broken bits, I found that red tag, which had clear instructions on proper support.”
- THE SOLUTION MIGHT BE REALLY OBVIOUS!
“I got into the laundry room the other day and turned on the light. Nothing happened. The circuit breaker hadn’t tripped, so I thought it must be the switch. I got back my tester and investigated the two wires on the switch. My tester didn’t light up, so I thought it must be bad. After installing the new switch, the light still didn’t seem to be working. I realized that it must be the simplest solution of all—a burned-out fluorescent bulb. I was sure, as once I replaced the bulb, it worked perfectly fine. Next time I’ll start with the most obvious!”
- SEPARATE APPLIANCES FROM EACH OTHER!
“When I found myself searching for a new doorbell, my handy brother-in-law helped install it for me. A few days later, very early in the morning, the doorbell rang. We got up to check the door and nobody was there. Convinced it was a joke, we camped out by the door. It rang yet again, and this time we could see there was definitely nobody there. Aware that a doorbell uses low voltage supplied by a transformer, we traced the wires and noticed that my father-in-law had wired the door’s bell into an existing transformer that was also attached to the furnace thermostat. As a result, whenever the furnace turned on, the doorbell rang. We bought a dedicated transformer for the new doorbell and are now sleeping in on weekends.”
- SHORTCUTS DON’T WORK!
“I installed a programmable thermostat to cut down on the energy costs. The job seemed fine, or so I thought until my wife started kicking me at 3 in the morning. The house was a nose-numbing 7°C! I removed the new thermostat and duct-taped the old one back in place; I thought I would figure out the problem after work. When I heard the heat turn on, I chuckled and went back to bed. During the day, the weight of the old thermostat had pulled the duct tape from the wall, leaving the thermostat set in the “on” position. The gauge read a sweltering 110°C!”
- NEVER LET ATTENTION FALTER!
“I was installing a new, quieter dryer in a pretty high-end house. The power cord was unattached and had exposed connectors at one end. Unthinkingly, I pushed the plug into the 240-volt outlet to see if the prongs fit. Unfortunately, the connectors at the other end were all touching one another and – WHAM! The loose ends shorted and knocked me clear. This, in turn, set off the house alarm system, alerted the police and set every dog in the neighbourhood barking. It’s bad enough to goof up. It’s far worse to have to explain your colossal error to your client, your boss, a crowd of curious onlookers and the police.”
- SWITCH POWER OFF AT THE SOURCE!
“The other day, I decided to replace a ceiling light fixture in my study room. Instead of turning the power off at the breaker, I just shut off the light switch and got to work. Just then, my wife came into the room to help out. I asked her to hand me some parts when she said, “Why are you working in the dark?” Taking matters into her own hands, she luckily turned on the light switch and mild sparks flew. Thank goodness my hands weren’t touching the wires. Next time I’ll turn off the power at the breaker!”
- ANTICIPATE HEIGHT ISSUES – ON ALL ENDS!
“When I built my house, I wanted a huge garage opening to allow our full-size trucks within the space. That meant I had to mount the garage door track a few inches from the ceiling. The installation went without a hitch. The first time I hit the garage door button, the door opened properly, rolled smoothly along the rails—and shaved off my ceiling lights!”
- MALE-FEMALE CONNECTIONS!
“Recently, I was cleaning my yard with an electric leaf blower connected to a 100-ft. long extension cord. The blower kept cutting out, so I checked the cord and found it had a damaged spot about a foot from the end. Later that day, I went up to the hardware store to get a new end for the cord. I cut off the bad end and installed a new plug end. I then rolled up the cord and hung it in the garage. The next time I needed it, I inserted the blower and then held the other end. Thankfully, I didn’t touch the prongs or this story would have had a tragic ending! I’d mistakenly put another male end on the cord instead of a female end. With only my pride short-circuited, I unplugged the cord and fixed the problem.”
- DUCT TAPE IS NOT A REAL TOOL! “I’m not much of a handyman, but I have to deal with a lot of them at performance venues. I was performing at brand new auditorium once, with a state-of-the-art sound and light system installed. The only problem? No one knew how to operate any of the equipment. The overconfident technician in the hall decided to solve the issue of a jack not fitting into one of our laptops by cutting the wire and duct-taping it to a new jack. Because the cords were fibre cables, the grafted wires didn’t perfectly line up and the entire sound system was completely fried. We had to do that performance with a laptop and set up speakers on either side. Thank God for JBL.”
We hope some of these experiences have helped point out some of the crucial things to stay aware of while installing your own electrical appliances! If you must DIY, then DIY smart, efficient and safe!
However, if you choose to go for an expert electric technician, YouDo.com, a popular online platform assists you to get access to the best technicians in your city.
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No wonder, it’s now easier than ever to find the right technician for your needs. Stay Safe!