While stay-at-home orders are essential to protecting the health and safety of our community, it can get a little, well, boring! As much as you’ve enjoyed tuning into the HGTV channel, thinking about your dream home is no longer holding your interest. You’re itching for something new and fun to try. And, we get that! That’s why we here at Beacon Home Services are providing some DIY tips and opportunities that will take your HGTV fantasies and bring them right to your living room. With our expertise in electrical installation, we have compiled some potential projects you can work on to keep yourself busy during quarantine!
Electrical work can be dangerous! That’s why most electrical work is done by pros like us. Keep these safety tips in mind to avoid unwanted injuries!
Shut off your power!
Before you work on or around any electrical wiring or power supply, you should shut off the electrical power source to your home. In order to do so, locate your main electrical panel and flip the main circuit breakers at the top of your panel to the “off” position. If you only need to cut the power to one of the rooms in your home, locate the branch circuit associated with that room and only turn that supply off.
To ensure you have successfully halted the flow of electricity before you begin your DIY project, simply plug in an appliance into an adjacent outlet in your work area, and see if it has power!
Be Mindful of Flowing Electricity
For any DIY project that requires the hammering nails or drilling screws into walls, it is imperative you know where underlying cables lay, as contact with an electrical component can lead to electrical shock. Use a quality cable detector to keep track of hidden cables. If you do drill into a cable, contact a professional electrician immediately, as electricity can arc between the ends of a damaged wire and start a fire.
Pay Attention To Details
Always disconnect appliances by pulling the plug itself, not the cord, as this can cause fraying of the wires, which can lead to an electrical fire. Be careful about where your cords run, as well. Wiring placed underneath carpeting can overheat and fray more easily. Lastly, avoid overloading your outlets. If you absolutely must use a power strip to increase capacity, make sure you use one that has a built-in circuit breaker function.
Ready to get to DIY-ing? These projects are relatively straightforward, just make sure to follow our safety guidelines above and exercise caution!
Avoid Water Damage And Drafts
Where your electrical meter cable enters your home, there is an opportunity for water damage and drafts. However, with duct seal putty, you will be able to seal around the meter cable! This duct seal will keep water and drafts from entering your home. Although duct seal putty is placed during installation, over time it tends to shrink and crack, making your home susceptible once again. Duct seal putty must be reapplied, and you can do it yourself!
Duct seal putty is a gray, asbestos-free, permanently soft, non-toxic compound that will adhere to most clean, dry surfaces. As it is not chemical-based, it won’t affect surrounding plastic materials or corrode metals. Duct seal putty is safe to use on, and will not harm, polyethylene sheath cables. Additionally, it has no adverse effects on human skin, so applying this sealant won’t cause any injury!
Primarily used by the building, telecom, and in the electrical trade, duct seal putty is generally used to seal around service entries, manholes, electrical boxes, flashings, and service mast conduits, etc. It is versatile, as it can be shaped by hand to any form and reused if necessary.
For more information on duct seal putty, click here!
Sprucing Up Your Switches
Additionally, you may want to change your standard outlet cover to something more aesthetically pleasing! This is easy! Just make sure you purchase the correct configuration that matches your current switch style. From wood to stone and graphic art to stainless steel, your outlet cover options are limitless! Here’s how to install your new outlet cover:
- Shut off power for safety!
- With a screwdriver, remove the mounting screws that attach your current cover to the receptacle.
- Place the screws aside to use, and remove your current outlet cover.
- Grab your new outlet cover and hold it in place. Make sure your electrical outlet is properly lined up, and that the mounting holes on your outlet cover remain in line with the holes of the outlet.
- Secure your new outlet cover by grabbing your screws and tightening them!
- Restore power to the outlet, and enjoy your new, designed outlet cover!
If you are uncomfortable completing these projects on your own, it’s okay to call a licensed electrician! We are open, and we’d love to help with any installations or replacements that you may need!
Contact Beacon Home Services, we have been serving the Northern Virginia community since 2002 and are continuing to help through this COVID-19 crisis. To learn more about our outdoor lighting capabilities, give us a call at (703) 343-9884 or fill out an online contact form.