How to Be Safe Around Electricity

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Before you attempt to change a receptacle, switch or light fixture, you must know how to play it safe around electricity to avoid electrical shock or fire. Learn about equipment and procedures to protect your safety in this free video on home and garden repair.

Part of the Video Series: Home and Garden Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Chris Palmer. Welcome to Chris's Workshop. Today we're going to talk about some tips and information that will keep you safe when you're doing some electrical projects around your house. There are many projects you can do in your home that involve working with electricity. You can change a receptacle. You can change out a switch. You can change a light fixture that's in the ceiling or the wall. Before you do, there's some things you want to know to make this a safe and successful project. The first thing you want to know is you want to turn off the power in your breaker panel. Keep the light on that you're going to work on. Keep something plugged into the receptacle you're going to change so you know when you hit the right switch in your panel. Once you have that switch turned off, you can double check that there's no power in that area by purchasing a very inexpensive tool called a voltage detector. This just senses whenever there is live current passing through a wire or a fixture and it just works by the tool getting close to the electricity and it beeps like that when it's close. Always test it on something you know that works before you use it on your project. Very useful and inexpensive tool. What's happening when you turn off a breaker switch, this switch is attached to what's called Romex wire which is this stuff. This is individual wires encased in an outer insulation layer. There's, in this case this is 12-3. There's two wires that have insulation on them, a black and a white. There's one wire that's, has no insulation, that's your ground. Typically your black wire connects to the brass side of your outlet or switch. The white wire connects to the silver side and the ground wire connects to green. What you have inside your wall is your Romex coming in, still inside its sheeting. Inside your box, the sheeting is cut away and there's the individual wires inside the box that connect to your fixture. Once the power is turned off, I could touch this, no problem. Until then though these are what electrocute you. These terminals are dangerous and even the stripped end of the wire is what will electrocute you. So turn the power off, be careful, take your time and be safe. My name is Chris Palmer. Thanks for joining me. That's how you stay safe when you're working with electricity in your house.


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