When it comes to electrical repair and upgrades, you need to be sure you know what you are doing or things could get bad really fast. Unless you have experience it is best to hire an electrician. Here are some times you should call in the professional, even if the task seems small.
Upgrading Circuit Breakers
While the electricity in your home may be fine for the rooms and appliances you have now, changes can mean you need more or higher voltage breakers. Even if there is room in the circuit box for additional breakers the new wiring can be tricky. In addition, if there is no extra room and you need to upgrade existing breakers the task is probably more than your skill level. To make sure that everything is done safely and you won't end up constantly tripping breakers or starting a fire, contact a licensed electrician to do the work.
Anytime you are putting electrical fixtures outside the way the wiring is put in is important. You may need to dig a trench and have the wires run through piping to keep things safe. In addition, due to the weather, the box must be done in a specific way to keep everything safe. Done improperly, the whole circuit can be a safety hazard or cause anything that is plugged into it to be destroyed.
Changing Fixtures and Appliances
While swapping out a light fixture or appliance may seem like an easy task, if the new one requires more voltage you will need to either put in a new breaker or upgrade an existing one. Check the paperwork that came with the new unit to make sure it is the same electrically as the old unit before attempting a swap. If it is different and you do not change the breaker you risk destroying the new item and anything else that is connected to that breaker.
Electrical repairs are not something to undertake on your own unless you have worked with a professional in the past. If you want to do it on your own be sure to shut off the power completely before starting anything. Your best option is to hire an electrician and ask if you can watch what he or she does. Be sure to ask questions so that you understand how and why to do certain things. This way, you may be able to do something simple the next time it needs to be done. Of course, to be absolutely sure everything is safe, you may want to have the electrician come check things out before you turn the power back on.