Household Advice: How To Make Simple Electric Repairs

A few rules about working with electricity areound the house. Some basic guidelines and two easy fixes.

As a homeowner there are certain problems that you will encounter that you should be prepared to solve without the assistance of a professional. Since electrical problems arise all the time in houses and apartments you will find it very beneficial to know a few tricks of the trade. Dealing with electricity can be dangerous, however, so there are a few things you need to know before you pull up your sleeves and have a go at a problem. Here are some facts and important guidelines about electricity. Some may seem like common sense, but knowing these can protect your equipment, prevent fires, and possibly save your life.

The most important thing to know about electricity is that it does not mix well with water. Never turn an electrical switch on or off while you are in the bathtub. Turning a lamp on while soaking your feet can lead to electrocution. Similarly, never use water to put out a fire in an appliance that is plugged in. The correct procedure for an electric fire is to unplug the cord and use a chemical fire extinguisher. Never remove a light bulb from its socket and then prod it with anything. Never stick you finger in the socket. When you unplug an item make sure you pull the plug out""do not yank on the cord. The life of the cord will be shortened by this sort of wear and tear.

Never replace a damaged fuse with anything but a new fuse. Do not run extension cords over radiators or heat pipes. The presence of heat can crack the cord and cause a short circuit. Never run a cord under a rug. If there is a short in circuit in a section of the cord that is under the rug a fire can develop. Never put a TV or radio in a spot where air cannot circulate around it. Improper placement can lead to overheating and damager. As a general rule always unplug or switch off electrical power sources when you do an electrical work. Now that you know the basic "do's", and more importantly, "do not's" of electric power, here are two simple procedures you can master.

Fixing a damaged electric cord is easy and will save you a trip to the hardware store. If the outer insulation is broken all you need to do is wrap the area with electrical tape. If the inner wires are damaged as well cut the troubled spot off. With a sharp knife, strip two inches of insulation on each side of the cut, exposing the wires inside. Twist the opposite wires together and wrap each newly connecting wire with electrical tape. Make sure you cover all the exposed metal wire. Use two layers if needed. Finally, wrap the two wrapped wires together with another coat of tape.

Broken wall switches can be manipulated back into working order with the use of a screwdriver. First shut off the power by pulling the main switch or by unscrewing the correct fuse in the fuse box. Use a rubber-handled screwdriver and wear sneaker when you unscrew the two screws from the switch plate cover. Remove the cover. Unscrew the screws at the top and bottom that hold the switch in place against the wall. Pull the switch out of the box. You will notice that there are two wires in the back. Unhook the wires carefully by loosening the terminal screws mounted on the switch. Hook the two wires to the new switch, making sure that the black wire is connected to the brass-colored terminal and the white or red wire connects to the silver-colored terminal. Finally bend the wires into the back of the switch and replace the screws and cover.

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