5 Tools Needed for Home Electrical Work
When starting a home improvement project, the first thing you should do is make sure you have all the tools and equipment necessary to get the job done. Almost everyone owns the basic tools for general projects, such as a hammer, measuring tape, screwdriver, level, etc. Yet when it comes to electrical work, there are a few other tools that are essential to add to your collection. These are important to make sure that you can complete your repairs and installations safely and effectively. This article will cover five of the most important tools that a homeowner can have at their disposal.
- Electrical Tape
When your project calls for using tape to secure wires together or keeping electrical equipment in place or insulated, it is important that you use the right kind of tape. Because electricity gives off heat, masking and duct tape can burn, melt or slip. On the other hand, electrical tape does not conduct electricity and is pressure-sensitive. It adheres well and can handle the heat given off from wires, making it the perfect solution for electricians and homeowners alike. Although standard electrical tape is black, it can also come in a color-coded selection that signifies the nature of its usage.
- Fish Tape
Unlike number 1, this tape isn’t a strip of adhesive material. Fish tape is actually a thin steel cord that you can attach to wires and use to help pull them through electrical conduits. The fish tape is wound much like that of a measuring tape, making your job a lot easier if you need to feed wires through a long piece of tubing or through the empty space behind walls. Cable lubricant can also be used to help aid in the process.
A voltmeter is exactly as the name describes; it’s a tool used to measure the potential voltage in an electrical circuit. This is an important safety tool, as it can tell you whether your circuits are live or not. There are many kinds of voltage detectors on the market, including digital models and ones that can also measure current and resistance. The type of voltmeter or detector you buy should be dictated by the nature of your electrical project.
Although standard pliers are found in almost every toolbox, there are a few types of pliers made specifically for being useful in electrical work. Cutting pliers, also called side snips, are used to cut wires even in tight spaces. Some of these pliers even have the ability to alert you if the wires you are attempting to cut are live, and therefore a danger to be working on. Another type of pliers called linesman or lineman’s pliers have the ability to cut, crimp and twist wires because of the unique shape of its head. For this reason, many electricians and tradesmen use these pliers and consider them do-it-all tools.
- Wire Strippers
When doing electrical work, it is commonplace to come across a situation where you need to strip some of the insulation off of a wire. Wire strippers have opposing blades much like scissors, and are used to cut through the exterior casing of a wire. Once you squeeze the wire stripper down on the area of insulation you have chosen, all you have to do is wiggle and loosen the insulation and slide it off the end of the wire.
Although these are five of the most common tools used in home electrical work, the nature of your project may cause for more specialized tools to be purchased. Many of these tools can be found at home improvement stores as well as hardware outlets, and are fairly inexpensive to buy. If you are not sure what kinds of tools your project calls for, or you are confused about which type of pliers or voltage detector to use, make sure to ask a knowledgeable employee at the location you are purchasing your tools. You may even feel the need to consult an electrician before you feel comfortable making your purchase or beginning your project. This isn’t something you should hesitate to do; after all, having the proper electrical tools is essential to performing safe and effective work in your home.