For some, there is nothing better on a weekend than the opportunity to tackle some work around the house. DIY projects are good – they can save you money, improve the value of your home and help to keep you active.

That said though, it’s the smart weekend warrior who knows what to do himself and what to leave to a professional, particularly when it comes to electrical projects. Every homeowner should keep in mind their legal and safety requirements.

While you can safely do some electrical work around the home such as installing garden lights, changing light bulbs and installing battery operated smoke alarms – all hard wiring must legally be left to a professional.

When looking to hire an electrician to carry out electrical work in the home it is important you choose a licensed electrical contractor. Improper installation can be life threatening and compromise your insurance coverage if something goes wrong. If you are unsure as to whether you need to hire a licensed electrician ask yourself if the task fits the legal definition of an electrical job. The law defines an electrical job as the manufacturing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing or replacing of any electrical equipment. If this definition matches your task then you will need an electrician.

While doing other DIY tasks around the home it always helps to be wary of electricity. See below for our top tips regarding electrical safety when working around the home:

Make sure walls and floors are checked for wiring before they are drilled into.

Safety Switches
Regularly check your safety switch to make sure it is working and use a portable safety switch when using power tools.

Painting and Tiling
Never remove the light plate when painting near light fittings, as this will expose live wires. Instead, cover it with masking tape if you are worried about getting paint on it. When tiling around power points have an electrician remove the plate first.

Extension Cord 
Never use extension cords or power boards outside unless they are rated for this type of use. Make sure the extension cord is tailored to the power loading needed and meets Australian guidelines.

Remember home electrical work can be fatal if not carried out correctly. Always recruit a licenced electrical contractor to do any work that is out of your scope. If you are unsure as to whether you can do a job yourself don’t risk it, call your local electrician to check.