Common Electrical Installing Mistakes DIYers Make

Nowadays, more and more home owners prefer to do DIY jobs for their own home improvement or remodeling.  There are some common installing problems or errors we may meet and here is what to look for and how to fix these problems.

Making Connections Outside Electrical Boxes

Mistake: Remember not to connect wires outside of electrical boxes. Junction boxes can protect the connections from accidental damage and contain sparks and heat from a loose connection or short circuit.

How to fix it: To install a box and reconnect the wires inside it when you find where the connections aren’t contained in an electrical box.


Poor Support for electrical receptacles and Switches

Mistake: Loose switches or outlets do not look good, besides, they’re dangerous.  The wires to loosen from the terminals can caused by loosely connected outlets move around. Loose wires can arc and overheat to create further potential fire hazard.

How to fix it: Fix loose outlets by shimming under the screws to make outlets tightly connected to the box. You can buy special spacers at local home centers and hardware stores. You could also consider small washers or a coil of wire wrapped around the screw as the backup solution.


Recessing Boxes Behind the Wall Surface

Mistake: Electrical boxes must be flush to the wall surface if the wall surface is a combustible material. Boxes recessed behind combustible materials such as wood might cause a fire hazard because the wood is left exposed to potential heat and sparks.

How to fix it: The solution is simple as you could install a metal or plastic box extension. The very important thing is, if you use a metal box extension on a plastic box, connect the metal extension to the ground wire in the box using a grounding clip and a short piece of wire.


Three-Slot receptacle installed is without a Ground Wire

Mistake: If you have two-slot outlets, it’s easy to replace them with three-slot outlets so you can plug in three-prong plugs. We do not suggest to do this unless you’re sure there’s a ground available.

How to fix it: remember to use a tester to see if your outlet is grounded already. The tester will tell you if the outlet is wired correctly or what fault exists. You could buy the testers easily at home centers and hardware stores.


Installing Cable Without a Clamp

Mistake: Cable can strain the connections when it is not secured. In metal boxes, the sharp edges can cut both outer jacket and insulation on the wires. According to the experiences, single plastic boxes do not require internal cable clamps, however, the cable must be stapled within 8 in. of the box. Larger plastic boxes are required to have built-in cable clamps and the cables have to be stapled within 12 in. of the box. Cables must be connected to metal boxes with an approved cable clamp.

How to fix it: Ensure the sheathing on the cable is trapped under the clamp, and that about 1/4 in. of sheathing is visible inside the box. Some metal boxes have had built-in cable clamps when you buy from local vendors. However if the box you’re using doesn’t include clamps, you’d better buy clamps separately and install them when you add the cable to the box.

Post time: May-30-2023