You might not know this but the price of a 160GB iPod, or about $300,  can mean the difference between a safe family and a family torn apart by the death or injury of a loved one through a DIY electrical job at home FAILING during a cyclone or electrical storm.

Just imagine how hard you’d kick yourself over $300 when you’re staring at your dead or injured wife, child or visitor?

Here’s why the short cuts never pay off and the smart money is on saying NO to anything less than ‘by the book’ when it comes to electrical work. Whether that’s DIY, a cash job or that really cheap quote.

Insurance won’t bring back a loved one

Sure, most of us have insurance. Most of us do the right thing. But what about when your household electrical isn’t up to code? What about if you’ve done it yourself, as most Aussies like to do when it comes to home maintenance and saving a dollar and maybe it’s not quite right?

What about if the guy you hired is doing a cashie on the cheap and not bothered about testing everything after completion of works because the job doesn’t exist anyway ?

It doesn’t even have to be a cashie these days either, that cheap as chips company might be sacrificing safety and cutting corners to keep the profits up whilst charging you less. And when it comes to DIY electrical, my advice is just don’t. 

As a matter of fact, as recently as this month, the Electrical Trades Union issued a stern reminder that apart from being illegal, performing electrical work without the necessary licence and experience can and does kill.

“What the home handy man doesn’t always realise is that when they do illegal electrical work, even if the work seems ok for now, the risk stays with that work for years to come,” says Michael Haire, ETU Organiser for the Northern Territory.

“Some faults will show themselves immediately but some will not, instead remaining dormant for several years until conditions are right for catastrophe. The home handyman may think they know what they are doing but without the years of exposure and training they cannot possibly understand all the inherent hazards and risks,” he says.

More information can be found here.

The cowboys dodge the bullets

The sad thing with DIY (or any dodgy) electrical is it’s never the guy that’s doing the work that gets hurt. For some reason, we think we are indestructible and she’ll be right, it won’t happen to me. And it doesn’t. It might happen to your wife, your friends and family. What if it happens to your kids? It might happen to the people you sell the house to.  But it won’t happen to you, it never does.  

A report from the AIHW National Injury Surveillance Unit Research Centre for Injury Studies located at Flinders University South Australia has some interesting figures on electrical injuries: 


    • Approximately 1,493 people were hospitalised as a result of an electrical injury during the two year period 2002–03 to 2003–04. 77 cases were identified in which lightning was associated with the injury.
    • Electrical injury rates in males were much higher than in females, while for both males and females, rates of hospitalised electrical injury were highest in the young adult and adult years.
    • A large proportion of electrical injuries were found to occur during work activities. The first and second most frequently identified locations were the home and workplace.
    • Deaths
    • Deaths occurring as a result of electrical injury were uncommon with 162 cases in a four year period between 2001 and 2004. 93% were male.
    • Only 7 deaths were associated with lightning during the time period, all male.

Say goodbye to precious belongings

If you do manage to escape with your family and friends intact there is a good chance your possessions might not be so lucky. 

Half of Australians (52 per cent) allow their appliances to keep running when they leave the house, even though electrical fires are the second most common type of home fire, according to research by leading insurer AAMI”. 

The tragic thing about DIY electrical work is that we have known of the issues as far back as 1987 where NSW alone recorded 527 electrical related house fires and in 1999 that figure was only cut by a 3rd.

Electrical fires start just as easily as having too many power boards joined together, let alone rewiring your lights and fans from a DIY website.

What can you do? 

Don’t end up with a house fire. 

Make sure your wiring is up to code, have an electrician install a good quality surge diverter into your switchboard to help protect your appliances. These switchboards, or RCDs, are designed to protect you and your family. If you don’t have them, get them installed.

In a few short years it may become mandatory to have RCDs, just as it’s now law Australia wide to have smoke detectors in your home. 

If you have DIY electrical (or work you are unsure about), get it checked for compliance to Australian standards. 

As we always say, get it done right, from the beginning.

By Jon Story  

Home, Commercial, You Name It, We’ll Be There.

Serving Darwin, Palmerston, and surrounds