In Australia, most electrical work must be done by a qualified and licensed electrician.  It is not safe to do your own work, even if it may look simple. Electricity is a wonderful thing, but like many other modern conveniences it has a dark side; it can injure or kill if used wrongly.  Often, we don’t even think of this as we go about our daily lives using the main source of power we’ve known since childhood.

So when exactly do we need an electrician? The electrician should –

  • Repair all electrical appliances
  • Replace a light switch or a power point
  • Change the position of any electrical wiring
  • Replace old wiring or install new wiring
  • Change or mend a plug on the end of a power cord
  • I new lighting and power points in a renovation, shed or patio
  • Install ceiling fans
  • Check out the old wiring in your home

You may think it would be easy to simply look at the wiring, but there could be signs of wear and tear that you could see but not recognise for what they are, unless you’ve had a lot of experience or training.  Plus, the electrician will have a good ladder and insurance if he happened to fall and be injured.  It’s not even that easy to get into a manhole and its harder still to get out of it, so leave it to those who are used to doing it.

Of course, there are a few things the homeowner can do when it comes to electrical repairs.

You can –

  • Change a burned out light globe – be sure to turn the light switch off first.
  • Replace a fluorescent tube.
  • Replace the starter on a fluorescent tube.
  • Reset the safety switch or circuit breaker
  • Replace a fuse

This may not seem like much, but it is mostly enough to keep your home running.

You can also use common sense when it comes to using electricity. For instance, if a cord has frayed or the plastic around it is cracking, don’t use it, or have an electrician repair it for you.  Take note of your power points and if they don’t work, don’t hold the plug securely or feel warm to the touch, don’t use them until the electrician has been to repair them.

It’s also important to teach your children a few basic safety rules for using appliances.  Turning off heaters when they are not needed will not only save power, but keep your home safer. Pulling a cord from a power point should be done by holding the plug, not the cord, as this can loosen or snap the connection between the wires and contact pins.