The Hippo


Feb 19, 2020








On the job with Granite State Electricity. Photo by Austin Sorette.

When to toss it

Unless you have a “priceless” light fixture in your house, don’t get too attached. Even after all of his time spent studying his trade, Moore said he’s never had any luck fixing light fixtures.
“You can buy new sockets, you can buy new parts, but they just never seem to fit the way the original ones do,” he said. “Fixing a light fixture is not the best option; just get another one.”

This may come as a shock
Many electrical jobs are best left to the pros


Working with electricity can lead to disastrous situations, from shocks to electrical fires. Steve Moore, the owner of Granite State Electricians in Manchester, said that, especially when people are looking to remodel rooms in their house, the one thing that tends to get overlooked is whether the electrical wiring needs to be replaced.

“Just recently, we went to a guy who was remodeling his bathroom,” he said. “Whoever remodeled it had cut the wires and put sheetrock over it. So we had to open up the wall again [and ruin] his nice work, just to access the wires and make the house safe.”
If you have any sort of electrical issues, here’s what you can probably do yourself and what’s best left to professionals.
DIY: check the circuit breakers
Moore’s organization runs a hotline (603-876-6079) that homeowners can call if they have questions about electricity problems in their homes. Sometimes, Moore said, his staff will receive calls that can be solved in a few steps without much guidance.
“Oftentimes, we get calls because something doesn’t work in the house,” he said. “So the first thing a homeowner should do is go down to the electrical panel and look for [breakers that have been tripped]. If a light isn’t working, a lot of times people might have sockets that are loose, or there is a bad connection in the lamp. That can cause the circuit breaker to trip, short circuit or overload.”
A little more work: light or wall receptacle installation
There are, however, some jobs that a homeowner can do if studied properly. Moore said that, along the lines of the state’s “Live Free or Die” philosophy, people can do whatever they want to their homes as long as they receive a permit.
“Anybody that is fairly mechanically inclined could handle light fixtures and install lights,” he said. “You just have to make sure that the connections you make to the wires in the wall are very tight. Everything must be correct and tight.”
Changing or adding wall receptacles can be done with a little bit of effort too, especially if an expert is guiding you along the way. There are several books homeowners can purchase at hardware stores like Home Depot that will provide adequate information about more advanced electrical problems. The success of these kinds of jobs, however, is directly related to the level of what Moore calls “mechanical ability” of the homeowner.
“If you’ve had experience working on other mechanical things, then you should have enough ability to put a wall receptacle into the wall,” he said.
Don’t try this at home: new wiring
Anything that involves new wiring and opening the electrical panel of an appliance should be left to the pros, Moore said. One wrong move could quite literally send you flying into the wall on the opposite side of the room. This includes tampering with anything from fixing dryers to stoves to air conditioning units, and especially hot tubs and pools.
“Pools have to be absolutely done by a pro,” Moore said. “We went to a house where somebody had run an extension cord to plug their pool into. Even if they have the right to do [electrical maintenance] in their own home, anything that has to do with wires or outlets near a sink or any source of water, a homeowner should not touch.” 
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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