Safety Guidelines For Light Fixture Projects
How to Install Do-It-Yourself Electrical Wiring Projects – As with any project, electrical or otherwise – Safety is most important, then comes knowledge – they actually go hand-in-hand. Understand what you are planning to do and then understand all the safety factors involved before attempting the project.© By: Dave Rongey
Light Fixture Projects and Safety Guidelines
Light Fixture Question: Would you please explain to my 18-year-old son why he cannot take apart and put together electric lights and components from ceiling fans, splicing wires together with screw-on caps and loosely-wrapped electrical tape sitting on a full laundry basket of clothes, creating his own electric setups in his bedroom , some of which he admits are outdoor lighting without grounding that he has affixed to his wall?
- My husband and I just read him the riot act and ordered him to take apart and discard all of this but he thinks we are being unfair. We don’t want our house to burn down or people to be electrocuted.
- He has no formal training whatsoever and “figured out” on his own. I told him that if he wants to go to school to be a licensed electrician that is one thing but until then, he can buy approved lamps from the store and plug them into the regular household outlet.
- He does not think we know what we are talking about but he should trust an electrician’s opinion.
Thanks for your Light Fixture Question Meredith.
Background: Meredith , a Homeowner from Cockeysville, MD
Let me approach this question in a very practical way, and in all fairness will you please sit down together and consider all of the content.
I will be quick to point out that my question is based on years of experience, and the father of two children and my supportive wife.
How to Install Do-It-Yourself Electrical Wiring Projects
- As with any project, electrical or otherwise – Safety is most important, then comes knowledge – they actually go hand-in-hand.
- Understand what you are planning to do and then understand all the safety factors involved before attempting the project.
- Next would be a true self evaluation based on what needs to be done and the dangers based on the safety factors and deciding if one should proceed or call a professional.
So – Has your Son done enough research to understand what needs to be done correctly when it comes to hanging a ceiling fan?
Here are some key concerns about Ceiling Fans that you should be aware of:
- Is the ceiling box approved for installing a ceiling fan.
If it is it will state that it is which is usually stamped inside the box, otherwise if a ceiling fan is being installed onto an existing ceiling fixture box then chances are that the ceiling fan may one day begin to sag away from the ceiling and eventually it could fall down.
Wrapping Electrical Tape Around the Base of a Wire Nut or a Wire Connector
- Honestly if I had an electrician who worked for me that did such a thing I would question their abilities and consider dismissing them from employment.
- When the wires are stripped right, and the right sized insulated wire connector is used, adding electrical tape to the base of the wire connector is not needed or necessary.
This is another DIY practice that is taught and is a clear sign of not understanding how to make an electrical splice correctly using proper wire stripping methods and using the wrong wire connector. They believe that a wrap of electrical tape will make up for their lack of abilities or experience. I have NEVER known of or seen a fellow electrician wrap electrical tape around the base of insulated wire connectors. All insulated wire connectors are manufactured to provide adequate protection of the splice when the splice is done properly.
When I see that the wire connectors that come with any fixture does not have a metal spring inside of it, I throw them away simply because the spring provides tension to help hold the splice together, whereas the plastic molded type that does not have a metal spring inside cannot provide the same tension strength.
Building Light Fixtures
- This is something that allot of people do as a hobby, to save money or to help them learn about electricity.
- Yes, one should understand the safety factors involved and the dangers of heat produced by light bulbs, containing electrical wiring inside of an approved enclosure which is properly grounded.
- Light fixtures should be carefully designed and assembled with all of these factors understood.
- I do not think I need to say much about the laundry basket ladder method except one thing, when you need a ladder, use a ladder and nothing else – why take a chance.
- Consider purchasing a fiberglass ladder, NEVER an aluminum ladder.
- A six foot size ladder is the most versatile for home tasks.
- There are different grades of fiberglass ladders which are rated for weight, so there is no need to purchase one that is rated for 300 pounds if you only weigh 185 pounds.
- If you have an aluminum ladder you may consider getting rid of it, they are a source of several types of accidents.
Now lets talk about your Son’s ambition of Becoming an Electrician
- I will say right away that I sincerely admire your Son’s desire to do something that he has never done before, however I would just stress safety and knowledge as mentioned above.
- If this were my Son I would consider purchasing a few basic electrical books for him, and a basic set of hand tools and then help guide him into what may be a possible career decision.
- The electrical trade is very rewarding offering a lot of possibilities anywhere in the world, and there are several aspects of electricity including data communications.
- Recognize you son’s potential and carefully encourage him. In my personal opinion, I am glad to see his eagerness to do what others may think is far beyond themselves.
I can’t tell you the number of men and women who I work with remotely as they proceed with home electrical projects, some of which a lot of people may not even attempt, yet others find basic and end up saving themselves a lot of money and then enjoy the fruits of their labor.
I began working with electrical wiring projects at a very early age, then while in high school due to my involvement in the Future Farmers of America the students built and wired several agricultural buildings.
Those years had a great deal to do with my career, along with the encouragement of my parents, which I am very thankful.
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