Millions of South Africans would rather choose to DIY than call in a professional electrician when doing repairs or a revamp on their home.
Yes, it's a great way to save money, but DIY electrical work can be dangerous and could end up costing you a lot more money.
Should I call an Electrician?
There are a few DIY electrical jobs that can be done by someone who is not a licensed electrician, these are the generally the smaller less complex kind.
Here are a few electrical maintenance jobs that you can do yourself:
- Changing a light bulb
- Changing a plug
- Wiring a plug
- Connecting a stove
When to call an Electrician
Electrical work can be dangerous and choosing to risk your own safety just to save a bit of cash is not really worth it.
Instead, play it smart and call an electrician.
Let’s face it faulty electrical wiring does happen, particularly in older homes, that are generally not fitted to handle today's hefty electrical needs.
Here are a few warning signs that you should look for if you think your homes electrical wiring is faulty:
- Wall sockets and plug points are hot to your touch.
- Discolouration or brown scorch marks appear on your plugs and sockets.
- Circuit breakers trip without any explanation.
- Fuses blow repeatedly without explanation.
- Your lights flicker or dim when you turn on an appliance.
- Appliance motors slow when other appliances are turned on.
- Your toaster or iron struggle to heat properly.
- Your television picture shrinks.
If any of these electrical issues occur in your home, please don't hesitate to call in an electrician.
Still not convinced?
Below are a few more reasons why you should hire an electrician.
Some more hints and precautions to look at in your home:
Dangerous Wiring Faults
If your electrical circuit-breakers trip or fuse blows on a regular basis, your circuits are drawing more electrical current than they can safely run.
This may also be an indication of a hazardous wire fault on one or more of your circuits.
Wall Socket Overload
The excessive use of multiple plug-strips or adapters at each wall socket force your electrical system to work beyond its capacity.
Using an excessive number of extension cords means that your outlets you have are too far apart.
Both of these signs usually indicate that extra power outlets are needed in your home.
In order to make your home safer additional circuits with duplex receptacles should be installed by a qualified electrician.
Out with the old – Bad Wire Insulation
- When you remove a power switch cover, do you find bits of black rubber in the box?
- Are these electrical wires covered in cloth instead of plastic?
- Are you the owner of an older home?
Answering yes to these questions means that the wiring insulation in your home is outdated and dangerously inadequate for today's electrical needs.
Warm and tingly all over – Hot electrical outlets
Like we previously mentioned,
- If your electrical plugs or power switches are heating up when used,
- If you have noticed blackening near your switch plate, switch terminals or wire ends,
- Or if you receive a slight shock when touching them
These could be indications of un-grounded areas, too much demand on the circuit, or something far more problematical and dangerous.
Rust taking over – When to replace an electrical outlet
Rust or moisture around your home's main electrical panel is an indication that something’s definitely going wrong.
Corrosion threatens the main wiring connections within your electrical panel, and could indicate similar problems throughout your homes electrical system.
Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB)
An electrical current leakage from an electrical installation indicates an insulation failure in your electrical circuit, in order to prevent or detect any leakages an earth leakage circuit breaker must be installed as to avoid the possibilities of an electrical shock.
Earth leakage circuit breakers are now a mandatory addition to any domestic electrical installation.
South African law states:
A new regulation 226(F) was added as follows (March 1974):
(F) As from six months after the date of publication of this amendment, except as provided in (iii) below:
(i) All new domestic installations shall be provided with automatic earth leakage protection on all lighting and socket-outlet circuits.
(ii) Where any rewiring of or addition to an existing domestic installation is carried out, all lighting and socket-outlet circuits of the whole installation shall be provided with automatic earth leakage protection.
(iii) Any coupler which is specifically intended for the connection of a cooking appliance falling within the scope of SABS 153 and which cannot accept a plug manufactured in accordance with SABS 164 need not be included in such earth leakage protection.
Note: For the purpose of this regulation domestic includes hotels and boarding houses. Essential emergency lighting circuits do not fall within the scope of this regulation. The same regulation 226 was amended the following year as follows.
Earth leakage circuit breakers save thousands of lives each year, however it is best to call an electrician if you are experiencing any mild shocks from appliances or circuit trips.
Certificate of Electrical Compliance
This is a document stating that the electrical system on your property and all the wiring, plug sockets, switches and light fittings conform to government & ECB standards.
We provide an electrical inspection service whereby upon completion we will issue an Electrical Compliance Certificate.
Upgrading your Homes Electrical System
The fact of the matter is that your homes electrical system will eventually need to be upgraded.
Homes that are more than 25 years old are particularly at risk of insufficient and potentially dangerous wiring systems.
Therefore, in order to protect your family’s safety, it is a good idea to have an electrician come in to inspect.
Zero Tolerance Electrical – Electricians Cape Town
We are an electrical company based in Cape Town.
Our electrical services include household electrical, commercial electrical and industrial electrical.
For more information, please contact us.