Why DIY Power Outlet Installations Are A Bad Idea

CFI ELECTRIC LTD. | Jul 28, 2020

With the advent of the internet and several informative platforms like Vimeo and YouTube, it’s much easier than before to perform a broad range of home improvement activities on your own. However, while there may be many projects you can safely undertake as DIYs, there are a specific few like electrical repairs and installations that you should leave to the professionals. Working with a certified electrician is proven to provide a positive experience. On the other hand, taking a chance and working on your electrical system by yourself could lead to several poor outcomes.

To give you an idea of what could go wrong when working on electrical installations on your own without the right experience and equipment, CFI Electric Ltd. has explained why DIY power outlet installations are a bad idea.

1. Improper wiring
One of the most common mistakes you can make during a power outlet installation is with the wiring for the outlet itself. In your wall, you should have three wires (for basic outlets), hot, neutral, and ground. But the thing with this common appliance is that while some electronics that are plugged in are going to work normally, other devices that have a power plug with one metal tab larger than the other will break. This is because some appliances are made to have electricity flow through them a certain way, which is also why your power outlets typically have three holes for such a plug. When looking at the rectangular holes in a socket, you will notice one larger than the other, the reason for this is the different plug pin size.

2. Financial implications
If you install a power outlet by yourself without the right knowledge or experience, you could face significant financial impacts due to physical damage. For example, improper wiring can and will cause your fuses to burn out (or you could trip your breaker), or damage your plug-in appliance. There’s even the possibility of creating a fire with improper installations. Fortunately, installing a power outlet is something that an electrician can do quite cheaply, and it’s worth having it done right the first time around for peace of mind.

3. Self-injuries
The most common hazard to occur during a DIY power outlet installation is an accidental electrocution. While the voltages and currents won’t be lethal in most cases, it’s always advisable to have a professional perform the work, to avoid injuries and fatalities. An electrician understands what PPE (personal protective equipment) they need to start and finish the job safely.

Do things right - Hire a professional
When handling electrical installations that deal with voltages above 24V and higher than 1A, we recommend having a licensed electrician perform the work you require. That way, it’s safer for everyone, and you can rest assured knowing that you and your appliances are not in danger.

From a legal standpoint, it is mandatory to have a license to perform a power socket installation. This is not due to the complexity of the job, but because there are some electrical set-ups that only an experienced and licensed electrician will know how to handle.

If you are still determined to perform the installation yourself, we recommend consulting with an electrician. We all know YouTube is a fantastic resource for DIY projects, but it may be possible that the DIY installation information you are viewing contains safety rules or laws that are different from the ones in Ontario, or they could be outdated. When we perform electrical work, we do it according to OESC (Ontario Electrical Safety Code) in its latest edition.

We also know that the latest recommended form of power outlets has a special rating - TR, which stands for “Tamper Resistant.” This form of safety has been designed to protect the internal contacts of an outlet from small, pronged objects, such as forks, penknives, pins, and more.

How to choose an electrical contractor to meet your needs?
When looking for an electrician, make sure you choose one who is certified. If you have doubts about their credentials, you can always ask to see them and make sure they are valid. Their licenses should have their first name and last name as well as an expiry date. If the electrician refuses to show you their credentials for whatever reason, you have the right to ask them not to perform the electrical work you requested. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to electrical work. So make the smart decision and choose a reliable professional.

How much will it cost to hire a professional?
Professional electrical work doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet, and for the installation of a typical* power outlet, it can average between $100 to $200. Different contractors price electrical work differently. While it may be tempting to go with the lowest bid, it’s generally a good idea to get a second and third opinion (quotes or estimations) to ensure you’re dealing with a genuine professional. Most contractors offer free estimates on small jobs like these, and you can get a better sense of who to hire by meeting them in person. In light of the global pandemic, we encourage you to communicate with potential electricians over the telephone. That way, you can stay safe and interact with your electrician in person only when you have to.

(*Typical - referring to the most common types of US two-pronged and three-pronged plug sockets, including ground.)

For a reliable electrician in Toronto, ON, reach out to CFI Electric Ltd. Our firm is a member of ECRA/ESA and is fully licensed and insured. We have over thirty years of experience in our field, and our Scarborough electrical jobs are completely guaranteed! We specialize in quality electrical services for home (residential), commercial, and industrial electrical projects. All of our work is done as per the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, and only after the customer is completely satisfied, will we consider the job completed. Our services are available all across the Greater Toronto Area, including Mississauga, Rexdale, Etobicoke, North York, York, East York, Toronto, Scarborough, Leaside, The Beaches, Guildwood, Markham, Pickering, Ajax, and Oshawa.

To learn more about our services, please click here or get in touch with us by clicking here.