Basic Electrical Wiring Techniques

Woman Working On Electrical Box

A clear understanding of how an electrical system works is valuable knowledge when you start doing electrical work. Equally important to know are the techniques required to make safe and secure electrical connections. The skills you need to complete your own projects -- cutting and stripping wire and making connections -- are the same ones professional electricians use every day. You don't need to be as fast as a pro, but your work can and should be as safe and reliable.

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Why good technique matters
If wires are spliced or connected to fixtures or devices haphazardly, the circuit may function for a while. But there is a good chance a wire will work its way loose, creating a dangerous condition.

Wiring correctly is relatively easy. It takes only an hour or two to learn how to make splices and connections just as solid as those made by professionals. In most cases using the right technique is faster and easier than doing something the wrong way. For example, looping a wire around a terminal screw clockwise keeps it from sliding out from under the screw head as you tightenthe screw.

Use the right tools
Before beginning electrical work gather a basic set of tools designed for wiring. If you try to strip wires using a knife instead of a stripper, you probably will nick the copper and weaken the wire. Twisting wires together using a pair of household slip-joint pliers is difficult, and the loose connection might come apart. Lineman's pliers help you join wires to make professional-quality connections easily.

Safety while working
Electrical work is safe if you always follow the most important safety measure: Shut off power and test to make sure power is off before you start the project. Review our safety tips before beginning any wiring project.


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