Home Electrical Repairs that You can Totally Handle Yourself

DIY Home Electrical Repairs

Posted on 18 July 2017, By

You need not be getting help from your electrician every now and then for small electrical fixtures. There are some home electrical repairs that you can handle by yourself. The only condition is that you should be careful and equipped with the necessary safety measures when attempting to repair and fix electrical elements. Here, we will give you an insight on some of the simple electrical goods that you can probably work and fix on all by yourself without seeking help from an electrician. Also, we will share tips on how to guarantee you are safe while working on these:

Always, keep the power off before you place your hands on any of these gadgets because we never know whether the gadget has damages on its internal side that might crop up at the most unexpected time.

The safest way is to unplug these if your gadget comes with a plug. Also, there might be devices that have capacitors inside them and may give you a shock if you are not careful.

Also to stay safe, switch off the main power. If there is no electricity at the time you start your work, then you are safe. But, let us take the precautions for our safety.

Here, we are going to discuss a few of the replaceable electrical gadgets that you have in your homes and utilize on a daily basis. These are among those switches and lamps that you can fix yourself without summoning an electrician every time.

Light switch:

Do you think your switch is out of trend or doesn’t operate efficiently? Then, it’s high time that you got rid of this.

You can handle and replace light switches by yourself. Speaking about the tools, if you have a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, you can get this done.

A warning note: firstly you need to ensure that this kind of a switch falls under the following category, which is replaceable by anyone.

Let us take a look at the different types of switches that you can repair at home:

  1. Dimmer Switch: The installation of this switch is similar to that of a regular switch, which makes it easier for anyone who has no electrical background knowledge to get this installed by just following a few simple instructions.
  2. Single pole switch: This switch is used for controlling one kind of devices, such as a fan or a light. This is the one that is regularly used in homes. And, this has been listed here because you can easily get this repaired or installed just like a normal switch.
  3. Double pole switch: Used in homes, but as the connection for a single gadget that can be controlled from two different locations. You will not take up the repair of such kind of switches unless you are an electrician with a lot of experience. Let us avoid such kind of switches as these are the ones that need expertise and experience.
  4. Three-way switch: Again almost similar to the double pole switch, this three-way switch gives you the provision to control a single switch from two different locations. But, here again, we would suggest you take the help of an experienced professional electrician to get it repaired.
  5. Four-way switch: When you have a really big room, it is actually preferable to have two switches at different locations in the same room and also, another switch for the same gadget in another room, so that you can control it from three different locations and this is what exactly a four-way switch does. But, again, we warn you to get this fixed or installed with the help of an electrician as your life is valuable.


Now, as we have improvised your knowledge on the kinds of electrical switches for home that you can handle or fix yourself, believe us working on or repairing an outlet is more or less similar, which means you can handle it yourself without having to approach an electrician to get it done.

Here, are the three different kinds of outlets that you can work on:

  1. Ungrounded
  2. Grounded
  3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

Tools for fixing and working on outlets:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Multimeter
  • Replacement outlets and needle-nose pins.

Here are some simple tips to help you with the basic electrical repairs in your home:

Introducing the layout:

When it comes to working on electrical gadgets, it is important that you have a thorough knowledge on what goes inside and what comes out. Ensure that you know everything about the layout.

In general, the electrical boxes for switches that we use in our homes are manufactured with almost the same kind of parts. These have three types of wires. These include ground, neutral and hot. This is different from switches that are used to control ceiling fans or lights as these come with three feed, i.e., three wires and an out, i.e., three wires that go inside the fan.

The hots are attached to the switch, i.e., the feed goes into the bottom, whereas the out hot finds its place on the top portion of the switch.

The two grounds and two-neutrals are wire-nutted together forming separate groups of grounds and neutrals, respectively.  

What wire goes in and out of the outlets?

All the wires are attached to the outlet. When it comes to a two-socket outlet, you will find five screws behind it. One is intended for the ground, which is green, two of them are intended for hot, which is black, and two of them are for the neutral, which is white in colour.

How do you start?

Can you find two side screws on the same side as that of the ground screw? Yes. Then, attach the neutral to these side screws.

Now, there are two spare side screws remaining. The hots will be attached to this.

Does your outlet box have three wires instead of the six mentioned here?

Nothing to worry, it merely means that you have arrived at the end of the circuit. You can implement the same rules for attaching these wires.

Now, here is an overview of how to replace defective switches or outlets.

1] Switch off the electricity to the defective circuit, before you begin:

You can start by plugging in a lamp into the outlet that is defective. You can then, switch off the circuit breaker, which will cause the lamp to blackout. Ensure that you are using a non-defective lamp, or else you will have to find an alternative to ensure that there is no power supply to the specific outlet on which you intend to repair.

Is the outlet partially defective or totally defective? You need to examine this at first. If you are not aware of this part of your outlet, it would be difficult to identify the breaker that turns it off. In such a situation, you can switch off the main breaker.

If this outlet is connected to fuses and not breakers, then, you need to remove the fuses so that you are not risking shock.

2] Remove the cover plate of the switch or the outlet that is defective:

Now, the number of screws for the plates of outlets differs from that of switches.

Outlet plates in almost all cases have only one screw per outlet whereas switch plates have two per switch. Though there might be any number of switches or outlets in a box, you have the provision to change only one, if necessary leaving the rest untouched.

You can either draw a diagram of how you would be implementing the repair so that confusion doesn’t happen. Or you could work on each of them at a time to avoid confusions, as there are a variety of wires.

3] There are two screws:

One of the screws is at the top and the other is at the bottom connecting the switch or the outlet to the electrical box. Remove these and the outlet will slip into your hands.

4] Labeling the wires:

This is one of the foremost important steps before you start fixing the defect on your outlet or switch so that there are no confusions.


  • The hot wires go into the slot with the shorter plug, which has golden screws.
  • The neutral wires go into the slot with the taller plug and this can be identified with its silver screws.
  • Next is the green or ground wire that connects to the green ground screw which is attached to the brackets that mantle it to the outlet.

5] Your new electrical switch or electrical outlet repair:

Find the screws that will hold the outlet or switch and loosen these. You can do these using screwdrivers making room to pull the wires across.

Connect the wires to the before-mentioned screws as in the #4.

Ensure that the wires are well-placed without touching the plastic edges or the tip of themselves.

6] Tighten the screws:

Ensure that the screws are tight and check whether the wires touch the metal piece present on the outlet’s side right behind the screws.

7] Push the outlet back in place:

It is time to push the outlet back into the electrical box from where the defective piece was removed. Also, ensure that all the screws are in their respective holes.

8] Screw it back and test the outlet using an outlet tester

These are easy steps right?  Yes, they are you can do these fixtures at home with ease.

Now, we will share with you some simple home repair tips and tricks that you must be following to ensure your safety when attempting any of these home electrical repairs:

  1. Do not attempt fixing or repairing any of the electrical works unless you know it. Fear is something that could force things to go wrong. The psychological aspect of fear is that it arises when you have no or the minimal idea of what is to be done.
  2. Even if you are a know-how expert, ensure that you do not take a high-speed approach. You need time to analyze each and everything and learn in-depth on what is needed to be done and where you need to attempt fixing.
  3. Keep a flashlight handy whenever you are attempting an electrical repair.
  4. Never use aluminium ladders; it is always safe to use non-conductive ones like fibre-glass ladders.
  5. Now, this is common knowledge – never work on electrical gadgets while in direct contact with water that includes rain or dampness.
  6. Always try to wear rubber-soled shoes. Also, it is a great idea to stand on dry floors (and if the floor is wooden it would be best).
  7. It’s always good to keep your near ones informed before attempting electrical works.

It could seem easy. But, it is always good to get help from professional experts to avoid disasters.

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