Home Electrical Improvements

Home Electrical ImprovementsAs anyone who has completed a DIY (do it yourself) project can attest, there is a great sense of accomplishment in identifying a home improvement need, gathering your tools and the necessary products, and seeing the project through to completion.

When working with home electrical improvements, some general guidelines on electrical safety are in order. Always ensure that the electrical current has been switched off to the area of your home you will be working on. Electrical safety is something that should not be taken lightly. Electrical wiring and electrical outlets carry a large amount of current that can be dangerous or even fatal. Before starting on your home electrical improvement, be sure you know exactly what you are doing and understand fully all of the electrical equipment you will be using for your home improvement.

Replacing an electrical outlet is one of the easier DIY home electrical improvements you can perform. Replacing electrical outlets is a common home improvement, especially if your home was built prior to the mandated use of grounded outlets in kitchens and bathrooms. Here we will discuss the installation of GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) electrical outlets, which prevent electrical shock caused by ground faults, or “shorts”.

If you will be doing a lot of home electrical improvements, one must-have tool is a voltmeter. Voltmeters measure the electrical current flowing through wiring and outlets, and are a must for any rewiring or electrical installation.

Returning to the electrical installation of grounded outlets — first things first, turn off power to the electrical outlets you will be replacing. Then you will need to remove the outlet cover using a screwdriver. Once you have removed the cover, you will see an electrical box with the double outlet and electrical wires running to it. You can check to ensure there is no electricity flowing through the wiring at the outlet you will be working on by using your handy voltmeter.

Remove the plug and disconnect the wires by unscrewing them from the back of the electrical outlet box. Strip about a half inch of insulation from the wire. Connect the black (line) electrical wire to the brass screw on the GFCI electrical outlet labeled “line” and tighten. Next connect the white wire to the white or silver screw on the GFCI electrical outlet also labeled “line”. If there are load wires already installed in your home, connect these to the screws on your new GFCI outlet labeled “load”.

After checking all connections, push the receptacle back into the outlet box and tighten the screws that hold it in place. Install the cover plate, turn on the electricity, and push the “test” button on your newly installed GFCI outlet. If the “reset” button pops out, then you’ve done everything correctly. If not, the most common problem is usually the load and line wires have been switched, which must be corrected immediately. If everything is good, then you can feel confident in your electrical home improvement installation of the infinitely safer GFCI electrical outlet. Congratulations!