If you’re looking to install or upgrade the wiring in your home, no doubt you’ve spent some time online researching the best ways to get this done. You might even be considering doing it yourself. What you need to remember, though, is that electricity is dangerous. Unlike a normal DIY construction project, where all your tools and materials are easy to see, working with electricity contains an element of the invisible; since you can’t see it, you are always at risk for hurting yourself and your loved ones.
What you need to remember, though, is that electricity is dangerous. Unlike a normal DIY construction project, where all your tools and materials are easy to see, working with electricity contains an element of the invisible; since you can’t see it, you are always at risk for hurting yourself and your loved ones.
That alone should be enough to get you calling a professional. However, just like other housing projects, working with electricity also has legal ramifications as well. That’s why it’s important to take steps to make sure it gets done correctly. Here are five steps you need to take to ensure the proper wiring of your home.
1. Hire a Professional
DIY is fun, and there’s nothing that can really match the feeling of standing back and looking at your completed project, hands on your hips, surveying what you have accomplished. However, as said above, electricity is dangerous. Without the right tools or knowledge, you could easily touch the wrong wire and hurt yourself without even knowing what you’ve done. Because you can’t see it, the danger is multiplied.
Trained professionals have the knowledge and tools needed to keep you and your loved ones safe. They also have the training to ensure that the job is done right. That’s why hiring a professional is not only on the list, it’s step #1. By hiring a professional early on in the process, you have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. By answering some basic questions about what you’re looking to do with your home, we can start to draw up a plan for what needs to be done, when it needs to happen, and how best to do it.
2. Get the Permits
Depending on your project, you might need to get permits. For residential housing, some projects require you to obtain permits in advance, and some do not. You can find a list online at the city of Seattle’s website. Basic things like doorbells, setting up a speaker, or installing a garage door opener probably won’t require a permit, but if you are looking to add things like a fire alarm, security system, or extensive lighting upgrades, then you should definitely look at the requirements and make sure you’ve gotten the necessary permits in advance. The good news? Many of these permits can be purchased very quickly and conveniently online, so having to get one shouldn’t slow down your project much, if at all.
3. Understand Your Local Codes
If you’ve hired the right professional, he or she is already going to be up to speed with local laws concerning electrical wiring. However, as the homeowner (and hirer) for the project, that doesn’t take away your responsibility: take some time and learn what the law requires. Depending on the project, there may be codes that determine what type of equipment you can and can’t use, how much wiring can be put in a certain area, what types of inspections need to happen, or how a particular job needs to proceed. Ultimately, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure these codes are followed properly! If your wiring is not installed legally or inspected properly, it could void your homeowner’s insurance.
4. Know Your Needs
Before a final plan is put in place, you need to make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of this project. Is it better lighting? More security? More convenience and control? All of the above? If you don’t know exactly what the end result of your project needs to be, then there is no way of guaranteeing that your needs are met. Even the best professionals can’t simply guess what you want. This is why it’s crucial to hire and consult with a professional team early on the project. By communicating specifically what you want to get out of it, the professionals can determine the best course of action. In addition, they might even be able to suggest options and details that you haven’t thought of.
5. Make Sure Your Wiring Needs Are Being Met
As the project unfolds, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hopefully, the professionals you hired have your best interest in mind, but even then it’s possible that something was overlooked or forgotten in the planning stage. Keep yourself informed every step of the way as to what is going on in your home, and whether or not it is meeting your needs and the needs of your family. If your needs have changed, or if you feel they are not being met, you need to speak up! Don’t wait until the project is over to voice your concerns. By then it might be too late to fix it quickly or cheaply. The sooner you talk, the easier something is to fix or change.
Do you have a wiring project in mind? If so, we’d like to talk to you about it. We’ve been working on projects like yours in the Seattle area since 2004, and we’d like to help you out. Feel free to call us at 206-855-5061, or go to our website to request a consultation. You’ll be glad you did!