Tempted to strap on the tool belt, open up the fuse box, and start messing around with wires?
If there’s only one thing you remember today, let it be this: never do your own electrical work!
DIY electrical work compromises your safety
We Aussies love our DIY work. We love gardening and, when we put our mind to it, we can create a pretty mean cubby house. We love arts and craft and painting a new room, and when we were young, we got our kicks from making kites with dad and helping mum decorate cupcakes.
When it comes to electrical work, however, DIY is a huge no-no.
There are a few reasons why, but number one has got to be safety. Safety of your home, your family, and you is the priority here. It’s not something we really like to think about, but the sad reality is that people think they can save a few dollars by doing it themselves, but it can be a recipe for disaster.
Electrical fires, for example, are some of the most common repercussions of poor, faulty, or defective electrical work – and they’re often a time bomb waiting to happen when you least expect it.
Oh, and you should also know that the standard voltage in Australia is much higher than in some other countries: in the USA standard voltage is 110-120 volts. Any guesses of Australian voltage?
Between 220 and 240 volts!
That’s roughly double! So you should now know that if you’re messing around with electricity, consequences could be more dire here than elsewhere, particularly North America.
Is it worth saving a bit of time and money?
You might think that skimping on professional workmanship will save you a couple of bucks (and a little bit of time), but you can’t be so sure when it comes to electricity. Its unpredictable nature means it should only ever be attended to by a licensed and qualified tradesman.
Something so seemingly simple as a flickering light or tripping safety switch is still likely to be beyond your abilities, and the damage from unqualified electrical work can cost you more than you would have invested in the first place.
DIY electrical work can void your Insurance
If (touch wood) your house suffers damage (in terms of an electrical fire, for example) it’s unlikely your insurance will cover the damage. If they can determine that unlicensed electrical work was performed, any cover or payouts – like home and contents insurance – will essentially become void.
I fought the law… and the law won
Now the law does vary from state-to-state, but do you know that even some of the most seemingly basic electrical work might be considered illegal in your state? Here’s the official word from a couple of Australian states:
In Queensland, the rules are pretty black and white: doing your own electrical work is illegal.
And what, may you ask, is considered ‘electrical work’?
According to WorkSafe Queensland, electrical work includes “the manufacturing, constructing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing, or replacing of electrical equipment”. (Source)
Kind of covers the lot, doesn’t it?
And the penalties are harsh, too: fines of up to $40,000 for individuals (and up to $500,000 for companies). Ouch.
Energy Safe Victoria paints it pretty clearly: they state that it is “dangerous and illegal for unqualified people to perform electricity or gas work”, as well as advising all homeowners to check that their electrician is licensed.
New South Wales
NSW keeps it clear, too.
An electrical license is required “before any electrical wiring work can be undertaken in NSW, regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial.” (Source)
Individuals can receive fines of up to $22,000 while companies may be face fines up to $110,000. Is it really worth it?
Call Briggs: a domestic and commercial electrician in Melbourne
Even if you think you’ve done the job right, you still can’t be sure of any safety implications down the road.
And you can bet your light bulb that in the case that something does go wrong, insurance won’t help you if there’s evidence of illegal electrical work (the same also goes for plumbers!)
When in doubt, call the professionals. DIY electrical work is not worth it! Only trust a licensed, qualified, experienced electrician.
If you’re searching for a domestic or commercial electrician in Melbourne, contact Briggs today! Ask us for a quote or let’s set up an appointment.