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Electrical Maintenance for Almost Everything in Your House

For many people, DIY on any electrical component is a “no no” – and rightfully so. And while electronic devices tend to be a lot safer and user serviceable, many consumers are intimidated by them and are afraid to break something that may not be completely broken. While amateurs certainly should leave electrical maintenance in skilled and experienced hands, there are some basic things you probably should be doing yourself. Keep your electronics and electrical devices running optimally, while staying keenly aware of when it’s time to call for professional support.


Thanks to the sheer amount of heat they can produce, ovens can handle their grooming themselves for the most part – there’s that handy “self-cleaning” option on most of them. But it’s important to remember to avoid using any old chemical solution in your oven when you set it to self-clean – it’s okay to use chemicals during the process, but you need to ensure your oven’s manual condones the solution you have in mind.

Also in the ‘less is more’ category – oven knobs. You can actually do more harm than good, should you decide to pull off the oven’s knobs and clean them. It’s akin to hosing down your car’s engine, wet-wiping the inside of your PC, or spraying cleaning solutions on your TV’s inputs. You could cause a short and there’s even the risk of electrocution.

If an oven heating element goes out, you need little more than the time it takes to stand in the line at the hardware store to rectify the issue – that’ll consume the bulk of your time with this simple DIY project. With the oven unplugged, simply unscrew the old oven heating element and remove it from its bracket. Carefully replace the old element with the new one and its screws.

Home Security Systems

As long as they aren’t gnawing away at your nerves with false alarms, it’s easy to forget about upkeep with home security systems. But you should be running monthly tests on your system to ensure that it’s ready if your home ever needs it to be. Review your system’s manual for specifics on how to launch a test from the home security system’s control panel. And be sure to inform your home monitoring company before testing your system – they hate false alarms as much as we do.

More than monthly, you should also perform perimeter checks every week or so. Inspect your lighting and cameras to insure that they’re still optimally positioned, their gaze not windblown or obscured.  Your monthly tests should alert you to any sensors that are off line. But you’ll also want to make sure the sensors aren’t beginning to fall out of place due to warping, rotting, worn and weathered adhesive or screws.


For this DIY project, you pose more of a danger to it than it does to you. Yet, that doesn’t make a lot of consumers any less uncomfortable tinkering with a thermostat. But often times, all it takes is a careful cleaning to get your mechanical thermostat to spring back to life, seemingly, or to return to reporting accurate temperatures to your HVAC system. Typically, you won’t have to worry about your electronic thermostat failing on you. And if something does go wrong with them, it’s likely just time to swap out the batteries.

If your mechanical thermostat appears to be playing dead, make sure it’s cover is completely closed. If the cover isn’t properly seated, it could throw off the thermostat’s reading and even prevent it from responding to your temperature commands. And if the thermostat is covered in dirt and grime, use a small brush to clean it.

Door Chime

If people are knocking when you’d prefer they’d ring, there might be a problem with your door bell – a problem you may not have to ring up a repair person to address. Pay a visit to your home’s circuit breaker to make sure a breaker simply hasn’t tripped. If the breaker controlling your doorbell hasn’t tripped, flip it off and then go inspect the bell.

Use a screwdriver to unmount the doorbell and then inspect its connection. If the problem is a damaged or disconnected wire, cut away the bad areas of it and then reattach it to your doorbell’s contacts. If there’s corrosion around the contacts, clean them after disconnecting the wires.

Electrical Outlets

It’s easy, and wise, to give a wide berth to an electrical outlet that’s acting erratic or is unresponsive all together. But before calling in the heavies, there are a few basic steps you can take to isolate the problem and even resolve it – if it’s minor.

Try plugging a different appliance or lamp into the outlet in question. If there are still no signs of life, try plugging a known working device into another outlet nearby. After gauging the extent of the problem, check your home’s breaker box to make sure it hasn’t been tripped by a short or overload. Sometimes, a simple flip of a switch will restore power to the electrical outlet in question. But if your breakers are all on and seem to be functioning just fine, call for help.

DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself)

When it comes to electrical components, there isn’t much room for self-tutelage. There’s a lot that can go wrong when tinkering with wires, especially ones you’ll need to troubleshoot while they’re live. You’ll want to turn over just about every serious issue to the experts. But even for the simple tasks, use your best judgement and make sure you’re aware of all the risks. 

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