With the immense library that is the internet, there has never been the amount of information and number of examples on how to do electrical work ourselves. Although we discourage DIY electrical work, we’re super pleased that Calgary residents are taking the time to expand their knowledge in this area.
We know DIYers are very capable, that you can get the job done. But the question is – will you get the job done right! Watching a Youtube video can only take you so far. Plus, how do you know the information you’ve researched makes sense for Calgary? Electrical rules and laws are unique to each local – sometimes down to individual neighbourhoods!
Without the proper experience, there’s the potential for little electrical mistakes that can have drastic consequences. Considering the legalities that the City of Calgary requires residents to follow; you’re best to hire someone with certified knowledge and on-field experience.
That’s why the following six electrical renovations are best left to the professionals:
1. Home Surge Protection
With the ability to destroy your home appliances, electrical surges are no joke. During power outages and thunderstorms, whole-home surge protectors are your safeguard against destroyed electrical devices. But when installed incorrectly, you open your home to dangerous repercussions.
The first hurdle to the home DIY electrician when installing a whole-home surge protector will be to navigate your way through a live electrical panel. Unless you’re a master electrician, there’s a lot that can potentially go wrong when messing around inside an electrical box. We don’t even let our apprentices touch a live panel.
The manufacturers of the surge protectors themselves even discourage it. Many surge protectors will carry a pretty significant warranty that will cover the replacement of electronic equipment damaged during a surge. But ONLY if installed by a certified electrician. You could lose out on up to $75,000 of warranty coverage if you attempt to work within a live panel by yourself.
In a nutshell, surge protectors require installation within your main electrical panel, exposing you to contact with very hazardous equipment that can cause shocking, burns, fires and explosions. Hire a licensed electrician to install your home surge protector. They’ve got extensive experience and have been trained in the required use of certified protective equipment. Don’t put you and your home in danger trying to save a few bucks.
2. In-Floor Heating
In-floor heating is only worth it when it’s left to the professionals. There are too many variables to get this done by watching a few videos, and the cost of getting it wrong can mean a broken or non-functioning system that can be impossible to fix or replace without ripping out all that new tile! One mistake can deplete how long your in-floor heating will last.
First, laying out the heating mats need to be done precisely to get the proper coverage of the room. There are very specific requirements involved that will affect the efficiency of how well your floors heat. (Read this to learn how radiant flooring in-floor heating works).
Understanding what sizes and heating elements to use is crucial. It all depends on the thickness of the flooring material and that flooring’s thermal conductive nature. Selecting the wrong system for your application or installing incompatible flooring on top of the heating elements can spell disaster and disappointment.
Stay away from flooring like hardwood or engineered wood, if you want heated floors as they’re incredibly thick and are very poor at conducting heat to your feet.
You will also need to connect your in-floor heating to a thermostat as well as know how to test the heating elements with certified equipment before the flooring is installed on top. Each stage of the installation needs to be properly tested to ensure the floor isn’t enclosed with broken parts.
Like the home surge protector, DIY in-floor heating results in no warranty. On the other hand, as certified installers of Nu-Heat floor heating systems our installs carry with them a limited 25 year warranty. Obviously, there are plenty of pros when installing a radiant in-floor heating system with a professional.
3. Wiring Your Hot Tub
When you buy a hot tub, your hope is to avoid any complications, plug ‘er in and enjoy the heated relaxing bubbles. But wiring a hot tub is a process that needs time, patience and, above all, experience. A common mistake we see from many DIYers is instead of installing a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) breaker, they go for a regular (less expensive) two-pole breaker for the hot tub, which can cause your the breaker to trip.
Hot tubs have big heaters in them to keep that water hot and with that, large electrical demands. Most often a new circuit is needed in the electrical panel and an insulated and hardened line will have to be run from the panel all the way outside to your tub.
It can be very hard to get it right when there are so many blogs and videos telling you different ways to install your hot tub and each one of those videos uses very specific tools and equipment based upon their unique situation. Our licensed electricians are equipped with all the proper knowledge, equipment and tools to do the job quickly, safely and efficiently. Plus, if something goes wrong – we will come out and fix it!
4. EV Charger Install
For all you electric car owners, installing your EV (electric vehicle) charger is easier said than done. Like everything electrical, there are a lot of small missteps that can completely ruin your charger and potentially your car. Such as:
- Buying the wrong charger
- Running the wrong wire and breaker
- Being improperly grounded
- Finicky devices that require fine-tuned instructions
- Forgetting to hook your charger to a surge protector, to ensure the electrical safety of your car and the charger
EV chargers require a significant amount of power to recharge your car, and with that the potential for serious accidents and electrical fires increases. Get the professionals at Sun to configure and install your charger for years of trouble-free operation.
5. Aluminum Wire Removal & Updates
Many aren’t aware of the potential dangers aluminum wiring leaves you exposed to – many don’t even know they have it. Aluminum wiring was commonly used for a relatively short period in distributing power to applications. Due to its cost (less than copper), aluminum wiring is still commonly found in households. So, what’s all the hubbub about then?
Quite simply, very few electrical fixtures will have been designed for use with aluminum wiring. Since Aluminum doesn’t allow electricity to flow as easily as copper, some of that resistance will manifest itself as heat. The constant heat and cool cycles will eventually break down the wire’s insulation and even cause the aluminum itself to become brittle.
Do you have any switches that seem to act up randomly? Are your switch plates or plugs hot to the touch? Do your lights flicker on and off at seemingly random times? All of these strange behaviours could be indicative of aluminum wiring that is starting to fail.
How to fix and repair these issues is best left to a professional electrician. One who is familiar with Aluminum wiring repair in Calgary area homes. Sun Solar and Electrical have repaired and upgraded hundreds of electrical fixtures that were on their way out due to Aluminum wiring.
6. Panel Upgrades
This isn’t one that we see often conducted by DIYers but, it still should be made clear that this needs to be upgraded by a master electrician. If you’re looking for a reason not to upgrade your panel or replace your electrical panel on your own, there are many hurdles to overcome before completing the upgrade:
- Enmax needs to shut off your power, which will run you $500
- You’re required by the City of Calgary to carry a permit
- You need all the certified testing equipment to ensure it’s working correctly
- An understanding of the wire sizes required for the panel
- Know how to correctly ground and bond
- Know how to properly label
Let The Experts Help!
Our Sun Solar electricians pride themselves in the experience and professional workmanship they provide the people of Calgary. Call us at 403-214-8888 or request online to get started with your electrical quote.