The guests are on their way, the food is cooked and suddenly the light over the dinner table goes out. A new bulb doesn’t fix the problem, and neither does flipping the switch that controls the light circuit in the fuse box off and on. You know the same light has given you trouble before, and you might think you even know the difference between that green ground wire and the black hot wire. You remove the light switch from the walland see some of the wires have apparently become disconnected. Time to just shut off the fuse and reconnect them, right?
Wrong. Each year 67,800 fires result from home electrical problems just like this one, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Twice as many of those are due to improper wiring as appliance failures.
It’s not that you don’t know what you’re doing or that you can’t read a how-to guide—the last residents may have done it improperly themselves. They may have reversed wires, replaced the wire with wrong gauge or put too much strain on the fuse (called over lamping). The only way to know you are correctly wiring is to use a special tool called a voltage meter to check for hot wires.
The only safe bet is to consult a licensed electrician. Electricians not only have the tools you don’t, like lineman’s pliers and voltage meters, they have extensive internships (typically 3-7 years) under their belts. They intern for a reason—without proper training, you can seriously hurt yourself by mixing up cables or not taking the proper precautions. For your own safety, and for the safety of the community, get in touch with us about your electrical problems, however small. We can recommend some certified electricians we’ve worked with before. Besides, your guests would rather eat by candlelight than not eat at all!