5 Ways on Wiring a Switch and Outlet Safe and Easy

Electrician Checking Socket

Occasionally you may have to wire switches and outlets in your house, or for a friend or family member. Whether you are replacing a defective switch or outlet, or are simply installing a new switch point, you can do it by yourself without necessarily enlisting the services of a professional electrician. However, if you choose to do it yourself, there are certain precautions and best practices that you have to follow to do it safely and easily.

Use the Right Materials and Tools
Before starting work on wiring your switches and outlets, assemble all the materials and tools that you need for the activity. In this regard, you need to assemble all the wires that you need for the wiring task. Determine the approximate amount of wire necessary for your task, and acquire it in good time. Use the right quality of wire to ensure safety and durability. Also, ensure that you have the switches and outlets that you are going to fix and wire. Other materials that you need include different sizes of screws and masking tapes.

Besides, you need the right tools to complete the wiring task efficiently and safely. Below is a list of some of the most necessary tools and equipment to make your job simple.
• Voltage “sniffer:” the purpose of a voltage sniffer is to determine whether wires or cables are energized. All you need to do is hold the tool near the wire or cable. If the wires are energized, the non-contact voltage tester lights up. It also helps you to ascertain that all wires are “dead” after turning off the circuit breaker. This way, you do not have to handle the wires with your bare hands.
• Voltage tester: You can use this tester to check for hot wires, or to determine the neutral terminal. Simply touch the tester’s probes between two hot wires, or between a hot and neutral wire. Where the wires are hot, the voltage tester lights up.
• GFCI receptacle tester: This tester is useful for checking whether you have wired your outlet correctly. Simply plug it into the GFCI outlet, and if the outlet is wired properly, the lights will show. You can also connect the tester into the GFCI receptacle to check if the GFCI is functioning correctly.

Confirm that the Power is Off
Flipping a circuit breaker or flicking a switch is not a guarantee that the power is off. Always double-check to ascertain that the power is off before engaging in the electrical work. Use a non-contact voltage tester to see if all wires in the electrical box are off.

Do Not Reverse Neutral and Hot Wires
Connecting the black-colored live wire to the neutral terminal in an outlet can potentially cause a fatal shock. Take note that the lights and devices that use the electrical system may work, but they will not be safe. Ensure that you connect the white wire, to the outlet’s neutral terminal. Silver or light-colored screws always mark the neutral terminal. Connect the black-colored hot wire to the other terminal. Lastly, properly connect the ground wire to the green grounding screw. Countercheck to ascertain that all wires are correctly connected to avoid lethal shocks.

Handling the Wires
Do not cut wires too short, as doing so makes it difficult to connect them. Make your wires sufficiently long, so they extend at least three inches from the box. In case you get short wires, fix the problem by adding extensions onto the existing wires. Working with short cables involves the risk of poor connections, which can be a threat to safety.

Supporting Switches and Outlets
Loose switches and outlets are not only bad-looking, but they are also dangerous. Loose outlets move around, and in turn, may cause the wires to loosen. Loose wires can potentially cause a fire due to arcing or overheating. To fix loose outlets, use washers or special spacers to shim under the screws, creating a tight connection to the box.

Whenever in doubt, it is essential that you seek help from a professional electrician to avoid electrocution and possible fires, among other risks. If you live in Brisbane, you can enlist the services of a Brisbane Electrician to handle your wiring needs.