Doing electrical work on your own home can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, but if not done correctly, it can lead to major problems down the road. It’s also important to know that any electrical work you do yourself still has to pass an inspection and be up to code. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common electrical code violations that people make so you can avoid making the same violations if you decide to tackle your own electrical work.
Common Electrical Code Violations: Choosing the Wrong Circuit Breaker
Circuit breakers help to protect your home’s electrical wiring and equipment like furnaces, dryers, and stoves. While standard circuit breakers are good for protecting wiring and equipment, they aren’t as great at preventing fires, which is why most have been replaced by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) or Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs).
GFCIs are typically used to protect people in areas where they will be using small appliances and where water is present. Most of the time, they are required in kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoors. GFCIs also need to be accessible in case they need to be reset.
AFCIs prevent fires in living areas where appliance cords are prone to be pinched, crimped, or chewed on by pets. They are equipped with sophisticated electronics that can detect arcing conditions.
Installing the Wrong Cover On Outdoor Receptacles
Installing the wrong type of outdoor receptacle cover is a common electrical code violation. A flat cover will only provide protection when the receptacle isn’t in use, but it’s common for extension cords to be plugged in for extended periods of time, such as holiday lights. An in-use or “bubble cover” will help provide protection at all times while allowing for cords to remain plugged in.
Typically, these covers are recommended for locations where there may be water, rain, or moisture, but if you think the receptacle is going to get wet, it’s best to use an in-use cover.
Overcrowding & Bad Splices
Overcrowding a hole when doing your own electrical work can be tempting, but this can lead to insulation damage as wires drag against one another. This can therefore create a fire hazard and is easily unnoticed behind the walls. Always make sure to leave some wiggle room for wires to avoid an electrical code violation.
Bad splicing is also a common electrical code violation, as splicing two wires together should only take place inside of a junction box. To avoid a violation, all you need to do is install a junction box and run the wires inside, using wire nuts to complete the splice and replace the cover plate.
If you opt to do your own electrical work, it is incredibly important to make sure you do things correctly. This will not only keep you from violating any electrical codes but will also ensure that you don’t have any hazards lurking behind the walls. Remember, it’s crucial to shut off the electrical current to your home before doing any electrical work.