Major Systems

Radio: Electrical Ground Rules

Make sure you're familiar with the ground rules of home electrical work if you're considering doing some yourself.

Listen to ON ELECTRICAL GROUND RULES, or read the text below:

Before you start, be sure you kill the power to the circuit you're working on. If you're not sure which circuit it is, turn off the main breaker to be safe. Use a circuit tester, available at any hardware store, to be sure the wires aren't “hot” before you touch them. And it's a good idea to lock out the panel box so no one else can inadvertently turn the power back on before you're finished.

Check with your local building department before you start your project to see if permits are required. Small fixture upgrades are usually okay for homeowners with basic knowledge of electrical work, but larger projects and anything you have doubts about are always better left to a licensed electrician. Incorrectly installed electrical work can start fires and cause serious injury or death. And damage caused by unpermitted work is seldom covered by your homeowner's insurance.

Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to-or reading-Bob's 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on electrical and lighting, consider:

Solar Power Systems 101
Radio: Electrical Outlet Inspection
Outdoor Wall Sconces: Lighting the Way with Style