ST. LOUIS – Many homeowners spent much of the pandemic performing “do-it-yourself” home repairs. But while the “can do” self-sufficiency of Americans is admirable, the Electrical Connection is warning about stretching skills too far and creating electrical hazards.
“The problem is twofold,” noted Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (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?” NECA partners with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 to form the Electrical Connection.
Just some of the electrical hazards Electrical Connection contactors have been called on to repair.
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. It should be in a utility area. Panels are also found mounted on moist walls where water leaks in, leading to corrosion and rust.
· GFCIs added to kitchen countertops in an existing metal box 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 rating of an overcurrent device exceeding the rating of the circuit conductors
“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 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 https://stlouiscountymo.gov/st-louis-county-departments/transportation-and-public-works/residential-building/.