We explain what electrical work you can do yourself.
What can you do?
There is a limited amount of electrical work you can do when it comes to wiring in your own home. This is listed in regulation 47 of the Electricity Regulations 1997 and includes:
- Replacing switches, socket outlets, lamp holders, ceiling roses, water heater switches, thermostats and elements.
- Repairing light fittings.
- Moving, repairing or replacing flexible cords connected to permanently connected outlets or ceiling roses.
- Disconnecting and reconnecting permanently wired appliances.
- Moving switches, sockets and lighting outlets, but only if they are wired with tough plastic-sheathed cables.
- Installing, extending, or altering any cables (except the main cables that come from the street to your switchboard). You have to get the finished job checked and tested by a licensed electrical inspector. You cannot connect your work to the electricity supply yourself. The inspector will connect it, test it, and issue you with a Certificate of Compliance (see below) if it complies with safety requirements.
- Fitting plugs, cord extension sockets or appliance connectors to a flexible cord.
- Replacing fuse wires and fuse cartridges.
- Repairing appliances.
Before you do any work, make sure:
- You have the necessary knowledge and skills.
- The power is turned off.
- You are not anywhere where conductors or terminals are live or could become live.
When something goes wrong
If you think something has gone wrong, make sure the power is off and contact a licensed electrician. Otherwise you risk injuring yourself or someone who lives with you and you could be prosecuted and fined $10,000 (section 163 of the Electricity Act 1992).
There are training providers (like technical institutes) that run courses for people wanting to do their own electrical work at home.
For more information about working safely with electricity, contact the Energy Safety Service.
Work that must be done by a licensed electrician
Any work not appearing in the list above must be done by a licensed electrician. This is a person registered by the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB).
For any new work done, the electrician must issue you a Certificate of Compliance (CoC), a copy of which is also sent to the EWRB. The CoC is an assurance that the work has been done to New Zealand’s electrical and safety standards. Keep the CoC safe. You may need it for an insurance claim or when you are selling your house.
A CoC is not required for maintenance work such as replacing sockets and light fittings.
Note that you are not permitted to do any work on a switchboard, apart from replacing fuse wire or fuse cartridges.
Minor problems with light fixtures or electric outlets in your house are a good time to get into do-it-yourself mode. A two plug outlet where only one plug works or a light fixture that sputters on and off are annoying and easy to fix yourself.
Safety is a key issue when doing any kind of home improvement project — especially when a repair calls for messing around with live wires, outlets, ceiling fans installations or light fixtures.
Those who have attempted a home electrical project and failed will admit that the results can be, well, downright shocking…
Major electrical work usually needs to be done by an electrician licensed to work in your area, but minor repairs to appliances, outlets and other wired objects in your home can fall into the do-it-your category as long as youmake sure that the power is off before you start!
If you are working on any sort of wiring project, it is important to use the right wiring and connectors. For example, inside wiring that stays warm and dry will not be safe to use in external outlets where water can be a hazard.
If you are not sure that you have the proper equipment, ask someone who has experience or get an electrician to do the work. Poorly done wiring work can cause fires and electrical shocks. Normally, you can ask at the shop when you buy your supplies to make sure that your wiring will be safe.
You can definitely save money and aggravation with do-it-yourself electrical repairs. Start simple and take on the more complicated projects after you’ve gotten familiar with the process by doing the easy stuff.
Whether a do-it-yourself job around the house calls for fixing a light fixture, hanging a ceiling fan, installing a doorbell, or rewiring an heirloom lamp start with some tips from online experts before you begin the project.
Get clicking over to these top sites offering detailed instructions for the home electrician and see what advice the online do-it-yourself gurus have to offer…