DIY Electrical Repairs vs. Hiring a Professional Electrician



Navigating the world of home repairs can be tricky, especially when it comes to electrical issues. While some minor electrical tasks can be handled by a reasonably skilled homeowner, there are situations where calling a professional electrician is not just advisable, but necessary for safety and compliance with local electrical codes.

Understanding Simple Electrical Repairs

Simple electrical repairs might include tasks like replacing a light switch, changing an outlet, or installing a new light fixture. These are generally considered safe for DIYers who have a basic understanding of electrical systems. For instance, replacing a light switch is straightforward if you follow the correct steps: turning off the power at the circuit breaker, verifying the power is off with a voltage tester, and then carefully replacing the switch using the appropriate tools.

Similarly, changing an outlet follows much the same process, requiring you to ensure all safety measures are in place before starting the job. These tasks are well-documented in various DIY tutorials and videos, which can guide even those with minimal experience through the process safely.

When to Call a Professional Electrician

Despite the allure of handling everything yourself, many electrical repairs demand professional attention. This section will discuss scenarios where hiring a licensed electrician is crucial.


Complex Installations

Installing new circuits, upgrading panels, or wiring large appliances involves complex wiring that often requires an understanding of the current electrical code. For example, adding a circuit for a home addition or converting a garage into a living space involves extensive wiring and understanding of load calculations. These are not just complex but are also critical for the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system.

Troubleshooting Electrical Problems

If you’re experiencing frequent breaker trips or flickering lights, the problem might stem from something more severe than a faulty appliance or an overloaded circuit. Such issues can indicate improper wiring, potential shorts in your electrical system, or outdated panels that can’t handle your current electrical load. Electricians have the tools and experience to diagnose these problems without unnecessary modifications to your electrical system, potentially saving you from costly or dangerous mistakes.

Upgrades and Safety Inspections

Any project that involves electrical upgrades, such as installing higher-capacity breakers, adding GFCI outlets in bathrooms and kitchens, or upgrading your home to a smart home system, should be handled by professionals. Additionally, if your home is older and you’re unsure about the wiring condition, an electrician can perform a safety inspection to identify and rectify potential hazards like aluminum wiring connections or old knob and tube wiring.

Emergency Electrical Repairs

In situations where you smell burning near electrical wiring, outlets, or service panels, or you experience shocks from appliances or outlets, it’s crucial to call an electrician immediately. These issues could indicate serious problems that might pose fire hazards or risk of electrocution if not addressed promptly by professionals.

The Risks of DIY Electrical Repairs

While taking on repairs yourself can be rewarding and cost-effective, electrical repairs carry risks not associated with other types of home improvements. Errors can lead not only to malfunctioning systems but also to severe safety hazards. Even small mistakes can result in short circuits that may lead to fires or serious injuries from electric shocks. Therefore, understanding your limits is essential when considering whether to DIY or call an expert.


While it’s tempting to handle electrical repairs on your own to save money, assessing the scope and risk of the project is vital. For simple replacements and installations, a cautious and informed approach may suffice. However, for more complex systems, troubleshooting, and any situation where safety could be compromised, it’s advisable to consult or hire a professional electrician. Not only does this ensure safety, but it also guarantees that the work is compliant with local codes and regulations, thereby protecting your home’s value and ensuring that your insurance remains valid. Remember, when in doubt, calling a professional is always the best choice.

DIY Electrical Repairs vs. Hiring a Professional Electrician was last modified: by