Handy homeowners may choose to pocket the money they would spend on hiring an electrician, but what about those of us who don’t have the sharpest DIY skills? It turns out there are electrical projects that anyone can tackle on their own.
“Some of the repairs and installations can be installed yourself—if you have taken a little time to research and understand your electrical system,” according to Keith Simnacher, owner of Mr. Electric in Austin, TX.
Depending on your skill level, the average homeowner can probably handle the following three electrical tasks.
1. Installing a light fixture
“When installing a light fixture, low-voltage projects are less likely to cause structure or bodily harm, so this is a DIY project an individual could safely perform,” Simnacher says.
First, locate the circuit breaker and switch off the power in the room where you’re installing the light fixture. Let’s repeat that one: Turn off the power! You can use an electrical testing tool to ensure the power is removed.
After the circuit has been de-energized, the installation will usually require three wire-nuts that should be included with the new fixture.
“The wiring of the fixture and color scheme will be as follows: The bare or noninsulated copper ground from the fixture will be connected to the bare or noninsulated copper wire in the box via the included wire nuts. The white or insulated neutral wire from the fixture will be connected to the white insulated wire in the box,” Simnacher says. “Follow the same procedure with the black wire from the fixture and connect to the black wire in the box.”
Then, install the screws and tighten the fixture to the surface.
The average installation of a light fixture costs $461, according to Dan DiClerico at HomeAdvisor.
“Traditional ceiling-mounted lights range from $88 to $222, while wall-mounted lights are between $90 and $230,” DiClerico says. “Installation costs for recessed lights are approximately $175 to $225, and pendant lights average $95 to $250.”
2. Installing a ceiling fan
While installing a ceiling fan is not an extremely difficult DIY project, Simnacher says you’ll need to have some free time on your hands, so this might be a good weekend project.
“It may take a few hours depending on your home maintenance experience,” he says.
When thinking about installing a fan, Simnacher says you should consider the size and weight of the fixture. For example, according to the American Lighting Association, the fan’s blades should be between 8 feet to 11 feet from the floor. If the fan is too high, airflow will be decreased and you won’t be as cool.
“Also, a decision will have to be made to use a standard fan that works with the existing switches or to get a fan with a remote-control handheld or remote wall switch,” Simnacher says. “The remote-control fans are a little more complicated, and because not all remote-control fans are the same, you’ll need to closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions.”
This decision is important because he says the wiring of a standard fan (without remote-control devices) is the same as the wiring of a fixture.
The average cost of installing a ceiling fan is $245, according to DiClerico.
3. Adding chimes to a doorbell
Changing the sound of your doorbell (or replacing a nonworking chime) is another project Simnacher thinks DIYers can tackle successfully.
“Replacing most chimes is reasonably easy and just requires unscrewing two screws and removing two low-voltage wires,” he says.
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