DIY: Not for Surgery, Aviation or Electrical Work


Breakers

Now that spring has become a reality and no longer exists merely as a date on the calendar taunting us, the do it yourself (DIY) season gets underway. Weekend workers flock to renovation centres scooping up everything from garden supplies to toilets. Our relatively short Canadian summers necessitate this mad rush so that projects can be started and completed with a bit of time left to enjoy them in the nice weather (okay, maybe not the toilets). Whether it’s a patio update or a bit of  basement refinishing, warm weather and unfrozen turf make things not only easier, but often cheaper as well.

Some things, surgery, aviation and legal representation chief among them, are best left to the professionals. And certainly electrical work falls into that category.

I’m not much of a DIY guy myself, but I can appreciate the desire. However I think it is very important that one accepts one’s DIY limits. This is no place for silly macho pride. Some things, surgery, aviation and legal representation chief among them, are best left to the professionals. And certainly electrical work falls into that category. Unless you are a trained and certified electrician, the term ‘electrical DIY’ should be a total oxymoron, never to be undertaken.

I have a very healthy respect for electricity. I’ve been known to call Hydro-Quebec and ask them to briefly shut down the southern part of the provincial grid while I change a light bulb. Not surprisingly they have yet to agree, so I soldier on and hope for the best.

But I see the DIY folks wandering down the electric supply aisle at the renovation centre as if in a trance staring at the coils of cable and wire, shiny little metal boxes with umpteen holes that can be punched out as needed. There’s colourful plastic twiddly bits used to connect two wires instead of good old fashioned electrical tape, and switches galore. These items differ from other renovation products in that their purpose is to conduct electricity. When properly installed they ensure the safe functioning of an electrical system. When improperly installed they can be deadly.

I can lay a few rolls of sod – I know, green side up – to cover some bald spots in the backyard (if only they sold hair in rolls).

I can buy a curtain rod, one that comes with all the screws and anchors required. Not being the owner of a drill, I can skip the anchors and twist those screws right into the plaster and the curtains will probably stay up. But if not, the only result will be embarrassment.

I can lay a few rolls of sod – I know, green side up – to cover some bald spots in the backyard (if only they sold hair in rolls). If I don’t prepare the surface correctly, or  provide sufficient water and the sod doesn’t take, it’s no big deal.  But when electricity is involved it is a big deal, and cutting corners is not a good idea.

I think you should have to show electricians’ credentials before you can even buy many of the items on the shelves in the electric section. Like at the pharmacy where they keep the stronger but non-prescription meds behind the counter, they should carefully monitor who buys electrical goods.

Well, I never …

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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One thought on “DIY: Not for Surgery, Aviation or Electrical Work

  1. We’re in New England, so we have pretty much the same calendar as you. This year, we are just running as fast as we can just to make the repairs from damage caused by the winter so we can batten down the hatches before winter comes around again. I’m too old for this.

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