The average electrical outlet sees a lot of use. Over time, they can get loose, break, or stop working entirely. If you have an old or damaged outlet, you might be tempted to try to replace it yourself. The affordability and availability of outlets lead more than a few homeowners to wonder, “Do you need a licensed electrician to replace an outlet?”
In most cases, that depends on the type of outlet and how you define “need.” Legally, most residential outlet installation projects don’t require a license (though some may require a permit). However, there are other risks and considerations to keep in mind.
The Risks of DIY Outlet Replacement
There are plenty of household projects you can complete yourself, especially with the popularity of YouTube tutorials—but most electrical work should be left to a professional due to the risk of electrical shock and fire.
The majority of residential electrical outlets are on a 110-volt or 220-volt circuit. While this is not usually enough to cause serious injury, it can lead to burns, numbness, tingling, painful muscle contractions, and even heart palpitations.
Some of this risk can be avoided by taking proper safety precautions, such as turning off the circuit breaker, but the right equipment also helps, and many homeowners don’t have everything necessary to complete projects like these safely.
Electrical malfunctions are the second most common cause of house fires in the US and account for 13% of all structure fires. The risk of DIY outlet installation or replacement extends far beyond the installation itself. Mistakes can create a far higher fire risk, putting you and your family in danger.
Finally, while this point pales in comparison to safety concerns, an improperly installed outlet can also greatly increase your electricity bill. For example, using the wrong amperage can lead to increased resistance, which will lead to more power draw. Fluctuating power levels may also damage your electronics or appliances, leading to inefficiency, the need for repairs, or even premature replacement.
Need a Licensed Electrician in Woodstock, GA?
In short, do you need a licensed electrician to replace an outlet? Not necessarily if it’s a residential outlet. Can you install an electrical outlet yourself? Maybe, depending on your aptitude and the tools you have available. But should you replace an electrical outlet yourself? Probably not.
At the very least, consider consulting a professional before working on your electrical systems. Electrical work can be dangerous, but improperly installed wiring is an even more significant risk. If you need an outlet replaced or installed, reach out to the electricians of Long View Lighting. Call (770) 790-3511 today.