Can I do my own electrical work?

big_jimJanuary 1, 2013

In most areas qualified homeowners are allowed to do electrical work within their own residences, however the particulars vary from locale to locale. In some locations it can be as simple as obtaining an electrical permit, while others may limit the scope of work that can be performed or even require aptitude testing before a permit can be issued.

Ultimately it is the sole responsibility of the homeowner to learn about and comply with all ordinances relating to DIY work and permits. Some good sources of information would include the local building department, electrical inspector, and, in some cases, the local power company's customer service department.

However, obtaining a permit does not automatically make someone qualified to do electrical work. The National Electrical Code defines a "qualified person" as one who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazards involved. Jurisdictions are free to use this definition or any other and it is the responsibility of the person doing the work to learn and comply with any requirements in their local jurisdiction.

Using the Electrical Wiring Forum alone is not enough to make someone qualified to perform electrical work, however it can be used by novices and beginners as a first step in gaining a better understanding of how electrical systems work. For those with more experience, it is a great tool for furthering their knowledge but still is no substitute for real world training and experience. Performing DIY work around the house is a satisfying and rewarding experience but one should always be aware of their limitations and call in a professional licensed electrician if the scope of work exceeds their abilities.

You can browse the main FAQ page for more information on permits, codes, and inspections.

Thanks to Sangan, Mizzou_KX, Normel, DavidR and Tom_O for their help on this topic.

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