While being a homeowner can be tremendously satisfying it can also bring its share of frustrations when things breakdown or need to be upgraded. For those semi-handy people, the idea of hiring someone to do the work probably seems like a waste of money but DIY’ers beware; some projects, such as electrical wiring, can pose serious safety risks if not done properly and according to your state and local government’s codes.
One of the most important items a home-owner needs to understand is the National Electrical Code which is published by the U.S. National Fire Protection Association. Not only does this detail the most current safety guidelines, but also sets the standards for safe electrical installation and inspection to help protect our families and homes from electrical hazards. The Code is regularly updated to reflect further safety standards and best practices. The challenge, however, is that some cities and states have not yet adopted the most recent codes. Some states, in fact, still have the 2008 Code in place. Below is a map indicating adoption of the code by state. Of course, if you are doing an electrical project on your home, using the most up-to-date codes would be optimal.
Map courtesy of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.
Before starting any project, it’s important to check with your local building department to find out which jobs require a permit and which ones are required to be performed by a licensed electrician. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers a great document that provides excellent information on electrical safety when considering a home renovation project.