Don't Get Burned by DIY Electrical Projects at Your Ministry

Hire a licensed electrician to keep your ministry's electrical system safe and up to code

When it comes to fixing minor electrical problems, many churches choose the “do-it-yourself” route. It’s more affordable than hiring an electrician, and it’s easy to feel confident about DIY projects with the amount of information on the Internet. But what many do-it-yourselfers fail to consider is the cost of making a mistake. All it takes is one installation error to spark a fire, cause equipment damage, or seriously injure someone.

Count Errors' Cost

DIY electrical work can cost a ministry more than hiring a licensed electrician, if wiring or electrical equipment is installed incorrectly. Typically, electricians charge $50-100 an hour or more, depending on their qualifications and location.

Electrical fires burn $1.1 billion worth of property every year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The chief culprit in most electrical fires? A bad wiring job.

Not only that, but bad wiring can lead to equipment damage. Power surges can damage incorrectly protected electronic equipment, musical equipment, and electrical appliances, leading to costly replacements.

Finally, electric shock kills about 350 people each year in the United States and injures thousands more, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“It’s easy to forget how dangerous electricity is, especially since we use it every day,” says Steve Edmonds, who has been identifying risks professionally for more than 35 years. “Do-it-yourself electrical fixes simply aren’t worth the risk.”

As manager of risk control operations at Brotherhood Mutual, Edmonds encourages churches to steer clear of DIY electrical work unless a licensed electrician oversees the job.

Comply with Code

Every U.S. city has its own electrical code to ensure both safety and efficiency. Hiring a licensed contractor improves the likelihood that your ministry’s work will meet current legal and professional standards.

Some people will replace a light fixture and assume that they’ve done the job correctly because the light bulb turns on, Edmonds says.

“You can have things work, and it’s still not been done according to code,” he says.

Even replacing a common electrical receptacle can place a person at risk of electric shock if the work hasn’t been done correctly, he says.

Keep Cost in Perspective

Professional electrical maintenance costs more than having volunteers do the work, but it’s a necessary cost to provide a safe place for worship, Edmonds says. It’s just as important as hiring qualified people to fix the furnace or repair the roof, he says.

“If something doesn’t work, call a licensed electrician,” Edmonds says. “Bite the bullet. Spend the money.”

YouTube video hosts may not be as experienced as they seem, he says. Trust a licensed electrician to meet legal standards and keep your ministry’s electrical system as safe as possible.