Most of the time, DIY electrical work is no joke…but sometimes it is. These handymen made some pretty big mistakes involving electricity, but luckily they all lived to tell the tale.
1. A Shocking E-Mail
I’ll tell you right off that I hate working with electricity because it scares the heck out of me.
But I had to replace an outlet, so I shut off the proper circuit breaker and checked the outlet with a voltage tester.
The power was off. OK, no big deal.
I started unscrewing the wire from the outlet, and just as the screwdriver touched the head of the terminal screw, someone sent me an e-mail, which caused the BlackBerry phone hanging at my hip to vibrate.
Thinking I was being electrocuted, I threw the screwdriver across the room, where it crashed right through the window.
This is one time that hiring an electrician might have been cheaper.
2. Attention-Getting Dryer
I was installing a new, quieter dryer in a client’s high-end house.
The power cord was unattached and had exposed connectors at one end.
Like an idiot, I pushed the plug into the 240-volt outlet to see if the prongs fit.
Well, the connectors at the other end were all touching one another and – WHAM! The loose ends shorted out and knocked me clear over.
This in turn set off the house alarm system, alerted the police and set every dog in the neighborhood barking.
It’s bad enough to goof – it’s far worse to have to explain your screwup to your client and your boss, a crowd of curious onlookers and the police.
3. Duct-Tape Failure
I finally installed a programmable thermostat to cut energy costs.
The job went well – or so I thought, until my wife started kicking me at 4 in the morning. The house was a nose-numbing 7 degrees.
I removed the new thermostat and duct-taped the old one back in place; I’d figure out the problem after work.
When I heard the heat turn on, I smiled and went back to bed.
When I walked into the house that afternoon, a blast of hot air hit me.
During the day, the weight of the old thermostat had pulled the duct tape from the wall, leaving the thermostat set in the ‘on’ position.
The gauge read a toasty 43 degrees!