Home Improvements

3 DIY Electrical Projects

If you’re someone who likes to DIY, electrical projects are probably frustrating for you. Electricity can be really dangerous: if you aren’t careful, you can get hurt, and maybe even damage your home. To discourage people from DIYing, some electricity-related projects even require a permit or qualification. 

But this doesn’t mean you can’t do any DIY electrical projects! You’ve just got to be careful about your skillset. Keep reading to learn about some electrical projects that you’re able to DIY. 

Close up of a lightbulb. Changing lightbulbs is one of the easiest DIY electrical projects.

1. Install a Ceiling Fan

With summer fast approaching, it’s a good time to consider installing ceiling fans in your home.

Before you start, you need to turn off your electricity. This can be done from the main circuit board. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up shocking yourself in the process! 

The next step is removing the light fixture. Hold the fixture in one hand while you remove the screws holding it in place. Once the fixture is loose, pull it away slowly from the ceiling to expose the electrical wires.

You’ll need to disconnect the wires from the light fixture by unscrewing each connector inside the fixture. Once all the wires are disconnected, completely remove the old fixture.

If the wires won’t disconnect, DO NOT cut the wires. Rather, contact an electrician to handle the complete removal and installation for you. 

Grey ceiling fan with grey blades and a grey fixture, against a grey ceiling. White light fixtures attached around the bulbs.

Now, you need to remove and replace the ceiling box. This is the fitting the light fixture was attached to. Look for screws or nails that keep the box in place, and gently remove them. You should then be able to pry the old box out. 

Then, you just need to install the next box following the instructions, and feed the wires through! You can install the ceiling fan the same way you removed the old fixture: hold the fan in place while you connect the wires, and screw the fan in place. 

Once done, switch the power back on and check that your new fan works!

White ceiling fan with white blades against a white ceiling. No light fixture on this ceiling fan. Ceiling fans are relatively easy and safe for DIY electrical projects.

2. Change Plug Sockets

Plugs tend to act up after a few years, but for South Africans, this is sped up due to loadshedding. If your plugs only work every second or third time you plug something in, or you need to jiggle your cable to get it to work, your best course of action is replacing the socket.

There might not even be a problem with your sockets, and you just want to change their look. Either way, read this step-by-step guide to changing plug sockets. It shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon. 

Empty plug socket on a wall with a zig-zag grey and white wallpaper surrounding it.

3. Label Your Circuit Board

Labelling your circuit board is arguably the most useful DIY electrical project you can do. This makes any future electrical work much easier since you (and your electrician!) will know exactly what each switch does. 

Start by removing the current labels, if there are any. You can get new labels for your circuit board from almost any hardware store. Then, go ahead and test each switch and label them accordingly. 

Make sure to use simple terms like “Left Bedroom” instead of using more personalised labels like a person’s name. You want someone to be able to understand the labels without knowing the details of the house. If an electrician needs to ask you what the label means, then it isn’t worth your time to label it in the first place.

Close up of an electrical board main switch, which is unlabelled. Labelling your circuit board is one of the most useful DIY electrical projects.

Tackle Those DIY Electrical Projects

While electrical projects are daunting, you shouldn’t be scared of trying new things. Some projects are beginner-friendly and only require some time and patience, so don’t shy away from them. If the DIY electrical projects become too complex once you’ve started, you can always stop and call for help.

If you need reinforcements or want to tackle more advanced electrical projects, contact a skilled electrician to help you out.

You’re in good company