BASICS FOR HOME ELECTRICAL REPAIR
If you’re considering doing your own home electrical repair work, familiarize yourself with a few of the basics, unless you enjoy flirting with danger.
Also, you’ll need to make sure you get at least a few basic tools capable of testing electrical power supplies. Not only will they make your job easier, but you’ll also be less likely to get zapped.
If your home receives power from the national grid (and it does, unless you live in some really remote place), there are three wires (hidden in an insulated rubber or non conductive material) entering your property. Probably copper—or possibly aluminum—two of which are “hot” or live wires—a white neutral and a black power—and a third one—ground. In homes from about the early fifties, these wires connect to the main service panel, which contains a number of circuit breakers.
In older homes, the wires run into a fuse box instead. Each branch circuit inyour home is protected by its own circuit breaker or fuse. Like the wires coming in to your property, these that are running from your circuit breakers to your outlets, lights and switches consist of a live wire, a neutral or common, and an earth or ground (bare copper) wire.
Before doing any home electrical repair work, make certain that whatever you’re working on isn’t live, and the way to do that is by using a “neon” tester (right).
These come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and they don’t cost very much. The most basic testers are simple devices which have two wires and an indicator light. In order to see if an outlet is “live” or not, insert the two wires into the outlet inputs. If the light comes on, it’s not a good idea for you to touch anything. Really, this tool is a “must have.”
If you do your own electrical repairs quite often, then you should also consider purchasing ananalogue or digital multi-meter. These are incredibly handy, in that they allow you to perform a number of tests.
For example, you can use them to safely test voltage, amperage, and resistance (Ohms). Of course, before you place your life in the hands of your tester, you should always test on a known live outlet before each use. Armed with a good multi-meter, you can safely do many of your own repairs.
So, what sort of home electrical repair tools should you have in your toolbox or electrical tool kit? To be safe and be able to make professional repairs and upgrades, you should make sure you have at least the following:
• Volt Meter/Multi-meter – An essential tool, and one that can quite literally be a lifesaver.
• Wire Strippers – You can strip the wires, like my dad did, with a sharp fishing knife, but do you really want to slice your fingers open? Really, strippers only cost a few bucks. Of course, really good strippers are worth a little more.
• Voltage Detector – Ideal for quickly checking to see if there’s any voltage coming from your electrical power supply.
• Flashlight – The best for this kind of work is one that clips to the brim of your hat or fits on your head, like a miner’s light.
• Utility Knife – If you’ve ever tried to remove old bits of insulation tape, you’ll know just how handy one of these can be.
• Wire Crimpers – No matter how good you think you are with pliers, when it comes to crimping wires, nothing beats a good wire crimper.
There are plenty of inexpensive books and tools available to make your job much easier. See electrical testing tools, search home electrical repairs or electrical tools, using the Bing Custom Search way over there on the right ->
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