If you’ve ever run speaker wire through the attic for a surround-sound stereo system, or swapped out a ceiling fan, or replaced a broken light switch, then you’ve performed basic electrical work.
We don’t often give out a lot of DIY tips for electrical repairs, but it’s not because we think people can’t or shouldn’t undertake basic electrical work under safe conditions. For a variety of reasons—legal, liability, and plain common sense—we think it’s best to let our clients decide for themselves what they are or aren’t comfortable tackling.
No matter what your comfort level of electrical repairs is, though, here are five projects where you should definitely call an electrical contractor. It’s much safer, and it’ll probably be cheaper, too.
1. New construction or remodeling projects
These complicated projects require a permit under a contractor’s license and inspection by the city or municipality in which the project resides. Safety codes have to be followed to minimize fire hazard.
A competent professional will size the electrical service to handle current and future electrical needs, and will coordinate the connection to utility service with the utility provider. It’s simply not possible for a homeowner to call OG&E or Edmond Electric and tell them that you installed something and need service connected.
2. Lighting design and installation
Unless you are comfortable with lumens, watts, kelvins, low voltage timers and controls, and 3-way switch legs, this is probably better handled by a professional. A good electrical contractor can walk you through the design and installation process, ensuring you have enough light in the right places and are happy with your investment.
3. Weather-related damage
A downed tree limb on an overhead electrical line can take your electrical service out. We see this happen in strong winds and even ice storms, which can leave thousands of people without power in and around Oklahoma City.
There are times when OG&E or Edmond Electric will shut a customer down even if their service is still working, out of a safety concern like a fire hazard. You will need an electrical contractor to repair the damage in accordance with safety codes and work with the utility provider to restore your power.
4. Standby generator installation
In addition to integrating directly into your electrical panel through an automatic transfer switch, standby generators are often connected directly to your natural gas or liquid propane fuel source. An incorrect installation can mean much more than the generator simply not working—it can cause serious damage to your home’s electrical system, or to you.
5. Pool or spa wiring
Regardless of the size of your project, pool or spa wiring is not something you can just plug in. Water and electricity don’t mix, so it’s safest to call a professional for this project. They can make sure they have the right type and size of circuit. You’ll avoid burning out your pumps, and more importantly, you’ll know your family is safe when they use it.
For these five projects, we always recommend using a professional electrical contractor. The risks are just too high. These are projects with a significant amount of danger involved, and they’re also expensive ones to fix if a DIY job goes wrong.
Save yourself the risk and stress by calling out a licensed electrical contractor, preferably one who can provide references.