DIY: When you can do it yourself and when a professional is needed

With the advent of YouTube University and a plethora of amazing resources online, the everyday person can learn to do pretty much anything. Do-it-yourself projects are a great way to learn some valuable skills and have fun while solving a problem, but DIY might not always be the best option. There are some skills that require years of practice and mentorship to hone, and you simply cannot learn something complex from a WikiHow article!  When it comes to electrical work especially, DIY can be dangerous — so how can you know when to handle it yourself vs when to call a professional?  

DIY vs Professional Electrical Work

In many situations, a professional electrician can be the best choice. Electricity is dangerous and expensive, so it’s important to take your time when hiring an electrician. You might think you’re saving money by doing some electrical work yourself. However, this may not be the case if you accidentally cause damage or shock yourself in the process of trying to do DIY electrical work.

You should also consider that electricity is complicated and difficult to diagnose problems with, especially if they are related to circuit breakers or wiring installations in older houses (it is easier for a trained professional to identify such issues). Also, if there are safety concerns with certain electrical systems (such as those related to fuse boxes), these issues will need immediate attention from professionals who know what they are doing because there could be serious consequences otherwise—including fires!

In conclusion: No matter whether your house is older or recently built, chances are good that any kind of DIY project involving electricity should be left up to a qualified professional who knows what things should look like inside those walls–and most importantly–what kinds of parts go where (and why). However, there are some instances where it won’t hurt for you to take a peek!

Simple Things You Can Take Care of Yourself

With the right tools and knowledge, you can take care of many simple electrical problems yourself. You can check for crossed or damaged wires, or other improperly set up circuits. If a circuit is working correctly, but it’s not turning on or off when needed (or vice versa), then you might need to turn off the power and flip the breaker switch on your main electrical panel. When you’re done with this step, turn on the breaker again so that all of your other lights and appliances work properly as well.

When DIY Becomes Dangerous

One of the most important things to remember when doing any sort of electrical work is that electricity can be dangerous. Electric shock, fires and even death are possible consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing. Even with proper knowledge and equipment, there’s always some danger involved in working with electricity.

There are many factors that can make DIY electrical projects unsafe:

  • You may not have the right tools or training to do the job safely. For example, installing an outlet requires a screwdriver but also various other tools like wire strippers and crimpers to properly connect wires together safely.
  • Insufficient safety precautions were taken during installation (such as no ground fault circuit interrupter protection).

The best way to ensure the safety of your project is to hire a professional. You can rest assured that they will have all the necessary equipment and training needed for performing electrical work safely. 

How to Know When to Call for Help

It can be difficult to know when it’s time to call in a professional. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether it’s safe to do your own electrical work:

Is it something I can handle myself, or is the task more complicated than I’m prepared for?

Do I need a permit before starting work on my home?

Do I need an electrician who has experience with this type of project or issue (e.g., installing outdoor lights)?

Does the installation involve new circuits that are required by code, but aren’t being installed in accordance with local code requirements because they’re being added after construction?

Am I adequately informed of all potential risks?

What exactly is involved in this project?

Electric work can be quite complicated and involves a lot of moving parts. Not only are there laws and regulations you must abide by, but you might not even have the proper equipment to get the job done right.


DIY is always an option, but there are times when it’s best to call a professional. In fact, oftentimes DIY projects turn into disasters. When a professional comes to fix the issue, you may find yourself paying more than you would have had you called a professional electrician in the first place. If you’re looking for a Reno electrician, or electrician that services Northern Nevada, call Lakeview Electric. We have over 20 years of expertise serving Northern Nevada and California, so if you’re unsure about any electrical project, contact us. We’re here to help!

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