If you’re like many area homeowners, you may have spent much of the pandemic performing “do-it-yourself” home repairs. The “can do” self-sufficiency of Americans is admirable, but the Electrical Connection warns against stretching skills too far and creating electrical hazards.
“Most everyone probably feels they can be a bit of a handyman,” said Frank Jacobs, IBEW Local 1 business manager. “But electrical work requires an elevated skill set and knowledge of the National Electrical Code. It’s work that should be left to professionals.”
The Electrical Connection is a partnership between the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.
VARIETY OF HAZARDS
According to the St. Louis County Division of Code Enforcement, most problems involve attempts to tie in new equipment and wiring with existing electrical infrastructure. That includes:
- Too many circuits for the number of positions in an electrical panel, and electrical service panels located in a bathroom or a habitable room, often a room addition. They should be in utility area. Panels are also found mounted on moist walls where water leaks in, leading to corrosion and rust.
- GFCI outlets added to kitchen countertops in existing metal boxes that’s too small. Many homes built before 1978 have this issue.
- Improper splices, and splices made outside of electrical boxes. Cables entering enclosures without the connector. Old-style service entrance cables are often found with deteriorated jackets
- Attempting to integrate old knob and tube wiring with new electrical wiring.
- Decks added without permits, leading to unsafe overhead electric drops that are low enough to be a hazard to anyone on the deck.
- Outdoor receptacles installed with the wrong weatherproof cover, and outdoor light fixtures installed without the required electrical box.
- Illegal circuit runs to outbuildings.
- Ampere (amp) rating of an overcurrent device exceeding the rating of the circuit conductors
HIRE SKILLED, LICENSED CONTRACTORS
“The problem is twofold,” said Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter of NECA. “Homeowners can create potential electrical fire or shock hazards with their repairs or repairs performed by unlicensed contractors. And when it comes time to sell the home, any reputable electrical inspector is going to require the faulty repairs to be fixed. So why live with the hazard?”
The Electrical Connection has the largest searchable data base of licensed and skilled electrical contractors in Missouri at www.electricalconnection.org. The IBEW/NECA partnership provides safe and reliable commercial, industrial and residential electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. It is an important resource for business and civic leadership for new technology, including disruptive technologies, advancing electrical and communication infrastructure.
For more information about St. Louis County Division of Code Enforcement visit stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/transportation-and-public-works/residential-building.