People take on DIY projects in their own homes for a number of reasons. Whether they want to save money, feel more independent or enjoy fixing things themselves, any DIY project requires some basic know-how to be done properly. Installing or replacing electrical switches and wiring is no exception. These DIY Electrical Wiring tips can help make the process of installing electrical wires and switches a breeze, especially for a DIYer.
Have the right tools handy
Like any other DIY job, you want to make sure you have the right tools to do the job. They can include a multimeter, a non-contact voltage detector (tests the heat of wire without touching it) and a combination sheath and wire stripper. Being equipped with the right tools will help you be prepared for anything throughout the electrical switch wiring process.
Know your wires
When connecting electrical wiring to an outlet, it’s important to not confuse your wires or put them in the wrong terminal. The white wire is the neutral wire and goes into the neutral terminal, which is marked by silver/light-colored screws. The black wire, on the other hand, is the hot wire and goes into the hot terminal, the one opposite the neutral terminal. If there’s a ground wire, it will be a copper wire held in place by a screw on the same side as the neutral terminal.
Knowing the difference between the wires will allow you to wire your home correctly and avoid the high voltage of swapping the neutral and hot.
It’s always better to have too much wire than not enough. There are wire extensions available if you end up cutting them short, but the wiring will work better if it is intact.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to have wiring that is long enough to extend 3 inches outside of the electrical box.
Hide gaps in drywall with oversized plates
When you’re installing electrical switches, it’s pretty easy to cut a hole in the drywall that is too big. Thankfully, there are oversized plates available at hardware stores that you can use to cover your switches.
They are typically in sizes up to 3/4 inch wider and longer than regular switch plates. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference, unless they’re professional electricians or fellow DIYers.
Quality switches and outlets are worth it
While it might be tempting to scrimp on some supplies as a DIYer, electrical switches and outlets aren’t one of them. They tend to be only slightly more expensive, but also last longer. A good way to tell a quality switch or outlet is by the presence of a back-wire feature.
Test the voltage
Be sure to test the voltage of wires and circuits before touching them. Testing electrical components with tools such as a wire sniffer or a multimeter will tell you if they are safe to touch or if an electrical current is flowing through them. Electrical work can be a dangerous job, especially if you’re unsure about what you’re doing. Always test before touching.
Do proper research
In today’s age of the internet, you can learn how to do anything online. For that reason, there’s no excuse not to do your homework before installing electrical wiring and switching in your home.
Searching for tutorials on how to wire a light switch is a great way to learn more about how to do it. On YouTube there are countless tutorials on DIY Electrical Wiring, from electricians and home improvement pros available that literally show you how it’s done.
Get an education
As great as internet learning is, it does have its limitations, and it’s no substitute for a trade school program. Learning how to do electrical work in an educational setting is the best way to ensure you know what you’re doing in home DIY electrical wiring.
What’s more, you can also make a career of electrical work. Electrical education programs are readily available at trade schools across the country. If you’re in Chicagoland, Coyne College is a great option.
Spark your career at Coyne College
Coyne College in Chicago offers two programs for aspiring electrical workers: Electrical Construction and Planning, and Electrical Construction Maintenance.
Our Electrical Construction and Planning program can be completed in as few as 78 weeks, while the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program can be finished in 42 to 56 weeks, depending on whether you take day or night classes.
As a student in Coyne College’s electrical programs, you will gain a comprehensive knowledge of electrical work by taking courses such as:
- Electrical and Electronic Principles
- Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
- Electrical Construction – Residential
- Electrical Theory and Applications
You will learn the ins and outs of the electrician trade in a setting that focuses on your individual success. Coyne College’s highly knowledgeable instructors have years of real-world experience under their belts and are eager to help you make the most of your education.
Discover everything Coyne College’s electrical programs have to offer by visiting https://www.coynecollege.edu/ or calling 800-720-3990 today.