If you are a new homeowner planning on doing home repairs, there are several tools you cannot live without. 2) Battery driven drill and assortment of bits – This is a must have, and you will find you use it more than you think.
7) Tape measure – For your projects you will need to have a tape measure or large ruler on hand. If unusual cracks, settling, or earth slippage starts, immediately consult a qualified civil engineer or geologist. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. If you'd like to check the status of an order, track a package, cancel or change an order, update your address, change your password and much more please visit your account. ELECTRICAL TOOLS BASIC - CONTENTS: A list of basic electrical tools for common homeowner wiring repairs.
This article answers basic questions electrical repair tools and a simple voltage presence or absence test for homeowners looking at an electrical outlet. Do not attempt to work on your electrical wiring, switches, or outlets unless you are properly trained and equipped to do so. Even when a hot line switch is off, one terminal on the switch is still connected to the power source.
A simple low-cost electrical voltage tester is used to determine if an electrical wire or component has been turned off, or if electrical power is present. For basic homeowner electrical repair procedures, the voltage tester is primarily used to make certain NO voltage is present before you touch any wiring or device.
If there is a second electrical test tool any homeowner should buy, maybe even the first one, it's a simple outlet wiring tester such as the little tool we show here.
Be careful: People think these receptacle testers, testers, particularly the plug-in 3 lite testers shown here, give a reliable indication.
They can reliably indicate if there are certain electrical problems (but may not indicate the correct problem or may miss other electrical difficulties in the circuit). Ground fault detection: Then if you push the black test button the tester will put a 14 mA current leak on to the GFCI to to see that the GFCI will trip if a ground fault occurs. As a bonus in our photograph above, our plastic, non-conductive pen is pointing out a dangerous condition: the plastic front of the lower half of this electrical receptacle has broken away - someone could be badly shocked or burned. None of these neat little electrical test tools (neon tester, receptacle tester, voltage pen) can be relied on to report low levels of current leakage. At an investigation of a garage roof that shocked a crew of builders during reconstruction after a lightning strike, we measured voltage varying between about 38 volts AC and 68 volts AC between some framing components and the earth.
Solderless connectors (get a variety of sizes and types) and a crimping tool to bind these connectors to electrical wires.
If your repair work involves wire splicing in an appliance like a clock radio, it is desirable to solder the splice to assure good electrical contact. A basic electrical continuity tester is used to find out if a wire is continuous or if it has been broken (or disconnected). An electrical continuity tester is a good tool to use to check your wiring work before applying power for the first time. The continuity tester is easily checked before use by touching the alligator clip to the tip of the probe.
A digital multimeter such as the tiny one shown in our photo combines several electrical test functions and can be used to check for the presence of live electrical power, to check the voltage level, and in another switch position, it can serve as a continuity tester. If there are cartridge fuses on your service panel, you will need a fuse puller for safe removal of fuses.


Be careful: Even when a hot line switch is off, one terminal on the switch is still connected to the power source. Touch one voltage tester probe inside the ground slot and the other probe to each of the prong slots in turn.
You can also determine whether or not the receptacle has been properly wired by this method (the larger slot should be the neutral wire) but a simpler plug-in electrical receptacle tester does the job more easily and more safely. Touch one probe to the screw on the outside of the cover plate and the other probe in each slot in turn.
If the receptacle cover plate screw is metal it is touching a metal strap that holds the plastic body parts of the electrical receptacle together.
The proper method of making the ground connection for an electrical receptacle is through a ground wire connecting the ground screw on the electrical receptacle body to the ground wire entering the electrical junction box - if there is a ground wire.
If you find that the receptacle is live but that connecting the receptacle cover plate through the voltage tester to each receptacle slot in turn does not cause the tester to show power, then that electrical circuit may not be safely grounded, and further investigation by a professional is warranted. Continue reading at SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia. John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
Recommended books on electrical inspection, electrical wiring, electrical problem diagnosis, and electrical repair can be found in the Electrical Books section of the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Here is a brief breakdown of tools you should invest in, and which ones you could leave to the experts.
Be it hanging artwork, installing lighting, or putting together furniture, it is good to keep a battery driven drill charged. A small handheld screwdriver can also be useful for opening the backs of electronic devices, assembling toys or models, or anything else you might find around the house. A smaller ruler and level can also be useful, but they are not as essential as a basic tape measure. I find it is an easy way to cover furniture and to mend other things that just need a quick tightening. For more information on what data is contained in the cookies, please see our Privacy Policy page.
Electrical components in a building can easily cause an electrical shock, burn, or even death.
All you need are common hand tools, some power tools, electrical supplies, and a few special items. For example, a weakly-grounded wire or electrode may look just fine when tested with a VOM, a DMM, or a neon tester, but when subject to higher current flow the ground may be completely inadequate. If you move into a new home we recommend buying one of these and simply checking out all of your electrical outlets and GFCI's. In fact just using a receptacle tester such as this, you can not tell for sure if the ground is adequate.
But if the tester does not indicate any problem, there still could be something improper in the circuit. A high heat electric iron, or gun, or a pencil flame propane torch, will heat the joint faster and assure a good flow of solder.


A continuity tester is a pen-like probe with an alligator clip lead attached or with two probe-ended leads if you're using a VOM as a continuity tester. All consist of a pliers-like tool with cutouts on the jaws corresponding to various wire sizes. We need a fish tape (or a substitute) when we need to pull a wire through existing walls, floors, or ceilings where finished surfaces have been installed. The fish tape has a hook at the end to which the wire can be attached after the tape is worked through the opening. Before doing any work on the switch, the power source must be turned off by setA­ting a circuit breaker to OFF or removing a fuse. She is a public school teacher who writes basic educational articles about a variety of building, construction, and other topics.
Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
A good toolbox should be strong and sturdy, easy to carry, and roomy enough to store most of your tools. While you might be able to get by with a Swiss army knife for your screwdriver and pliers, it can be better to have both on hand in your toolbox in case your knife isn’t always handy. The alternative is a nail gun, but I don’t think it has the same versatility, and it is too large to fit in your toolbox. The neon bulb will light when the probes touch the hot and neutral power lines or anything connected to those lines when power is present on the wires. Since the bulb will also not light if the tester is defective in any way, it is especially important that you test the tester from time-to-time.
For that matter, one cana€™t tell for sure if the power or neutral have functional connections either, but that is seen by plugging something in Three lite testers dona€™t show some more uncommon flaws either.
The cutouts allow the stripper to cut through the insulation without cutting or nicking the conductor Some strippers also have provision for cutting wires and small bolts. If the electrical junction box is metal and if the electrical junction box is itself connected to the building grounding system, that strap, by touching the metal junction box, provides an unreliable ground path which will let you per from the test above. How to test an electrical wall receptacle or outlet for the presence of electrical voltage and for proper electrical wiring.
Her articles appearing at the InspectAPedia TM Website have been edited, illustrated, and on occasion extensive new and corrective content has been added by the website editors and technical consultants. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order.
Lots of ohm-meters provide a continuity test function by emitting a tone if the meter finds a sound electrical connection between two points.
These articles are © 2010 - 2009 InspectAPedia copyright-protected, all rights reserved. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.



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