In many houses, the electrical system is grounded to the water service entrance pipe. Since the entire plumbing system is connected to that pipe, be careful not to come into contact with plumbing pipes when you’re working on electrical repair tasks.
To save small parts during a project, don’t overlook plastic sandwich bags or the small plastic bags available at the grocery store. Throw the parts in the bag and tack it up on the wall. Then, if you don’t get back to the job right away, all the little parts will be there waiting for you. This idea works well while doing electrical work; put receptacle screws and covers in a bag and tack it up next to the outlets as you work on them.
Don’t overload extension cords by plugging in appliances that draw a total of more watts than the rating of the cord. Use special, heavy duty extension cords for high wattage appliances such as air conditioners, portable electric heaters, and freezers. When using outdoor tools and appliances, use only extension cords labeled for outdoor use.
Keep these points in mind when you have your electrical system components raised:
a) Electrical system modifications must be done by a licensed contractor, who will ensure that the work is done correctly and according to all applicable codes. This is important for your safety.
b) Your contractor should check with the local power company about the maximum height that the electric meter can be raised.
c) If your house is equipped with an old-style fuse box or low-amperage service, you may want to consider upgrading to a modern circuit breaker system and higher-amperage service, especially if you have large appliances or other electrical equipment that draws a lot of power.
To get professional-looking splices in wiring without electrical tape, try head-shrinkable tubing. Slip a tube on one of the wires before splicing. After splicing, move it over the splice and apply heat with a heat gun. The tubing will shrink down for a neat, protective covering. You can buy tubes in multiple sizes, as well as shrinkable wire caps to use in place of screw-on wire nuts. They’re perfect for work on vehicles, trailers, underground and pool wiring, or for outdoor lighting or sprinkler systems.
Check the plug and the body of the extension cord while the cord is in use. Noticeable warming of these plastic parts is expected when cords are being used at their maximum rating, however, if the cord feels hot or if there is a softening of the plastic, this is a warning that the plug wires or connections are failing and that the extension cord should be discarded and replaced.
No matter what size your workshop is, there are some basic safety tools you should not be without. A smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, safety goggles, and first aid kit are absolute must-haves. Plus, all of your electrical outlets should be equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters. If an emergency ever should ever arise, a telephone should be nearby to enable you to call for help.
Replace cracked or worn extension cords with new. #16 gauge cords that have the listing, of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, safety closures, and other safety features. With cords lacking safety closures, cover any unused outlets with electrical tape or with plastic caps to prevent the chance of a child making contact with the live circuit.
Batteries will keep their charge longer if they’re kept cool. Warmer temperatures will shorten their life. Always recharge a battery right after it is used. Never store an uncharged battery and recharge unused batteries every two months.
Keep a mound of modeling clay handy to your soldering equipment. You can use it to hold small pieces at odd angles to each other. Push the ends of the items into the clay and position them so they meet each other. The modeling clay will hold the pieces securely and eliminate any metal contact from a vise that can conduct heat away from the work.