St. Louis requires an electrical permit for most types of electrical work. You should always check your local ordinances before doing any electrical work, even if it seems minor to you. There are safety concerns whenever you work with your home’s electricity. While some minor DIY electrical work by a qualified homeowner may be allowed, you could be injured severely if you don’t fully understand what you’re doing. That is why it is always best to leave electrical work to the professionals.

Determining Whether Your Residential Electrical Work Requires an Electrical Permit

You need an electrical permit for home renovations and remodeling. If you are installing, repairing, replacing, or converting any part of an electrical system, then you need an electrical permit.

Examples of such projects include:
  • Installing solar panels
  • Installing electric to an accessory structure
  • Adding new wiring or fixtures
  • Adding a new circuit
  • Installing a swimming pool

If you are installing security and communication systems in a single- or two-family dwelling or a townhome, then you do not need a permit as long as the systems use 24 volts or less. Any installation of these systems that uses more than 24 volts requires a permit.

Landscape lighting, whether you’re replacing it or installing it, might require an electrical permit. If it uses more than 24 volts, doesn’t plug into a GFCI outlet, or uses an extension cord, then you have to get a permit. To qualify for a permit-less installation, the landscape lighting system should be listed as an “assembly” and use a class II power supply.

If you want to install a GFCI outlet, then you probably need an electrical permit. Most non-GFCI receptacle boxes aren’t large enough for a GFCI receptacle. Overheating occurs when the box isn’t the correct size.

You can replace garbage disposals, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and dishwashers without a permit, as long as the replacement has the same specs as the old device. St. Louis County does require that only master plumbers replace dishwashers. Your plumber has to submit a Certificate of Replacement to the county when they replace your dishwasher.

For ceiling fan installations, there needs to be an existing box that’s designed to handle ceiling fans. They must use bolts, not screws, to attach the mounting plate to the box. When new wiring is needed, you must have an electrical permit.

Installing outlet

Electrocution Risks

Electrocution is one of the risks of doing your own electrical work. The likelihood of electrocution is greater in high-voltage areas.

Electrocution can cause:
  • Nerve damage
  • Third-degree burns
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Death

Some people assume that there’s no risk if they turn off the main power switch, but this isn’t the case. There are several ways that you could become electrocuted despite the main breaker being off. The main breaker could be mislabeled. The main breaker could have a short circuit, allowing electricity to continue flowing, even when you switch it off. This is because the hot wire and neutral or ground wire have come into contact. You need a licensed electrician to fix this problem. Serious injuries can occur if you touch the wires.

Defective and worn-out main breakers could also electrocute you. Staying on top of electrical maintenance helps protect you from electric shocks that result from worn-out breakers and other components. Loose wire connections can cause a current leak when the main power is off. One of the breakers could give you an electric shock. Other possible causes of current leaks include damaged wiring, faulty breakers, and loose terminal screws.

In apartment buildings, electricity from a neighboring apartment may spill over into your area, even when the main power switch is off. Electricians have to check the voltage and safely disconnect the line before electrical work. This is why DIY electrical work is never recommended.

Fire Hazards

Making a mistake when you’re doing electrical work could cause a fire. Fires that are caused by electricity can’t be extinguished with water. Trying to put out the fire with water also creates an electrocution risk.

The right fuse and amperage must always be used. Even a fuse that’s too large is a fire hazard. Incorrect wiring can cause short-circuiting and fires. Installing switches and outlets incorrectly can also start electrical fires.

Costly Damage

One mistake could destroy your home’s electric system, resulting in costly repairs and replacements. Someone else in your home might become electrocuted. The risk of DIY electrical work doesn’t exist just while you’re installing or repairing an electrical component. If you didn’t do it correctly, the damage or injury could unexpectedly occur weeks later while you’re using your home’s electricity. Because electrical current is always flowing, a house fire could start when no one is at home. Homeowners insurance policies may not cover you if the damage to your home resulted from a DIY attempt or work done by any other unlicensed person.

outlet burnt

Leave Electrical Work to Professionals

Because of the immense dangers involved when you don’t have a thorough understanding of how an electrical system functions, electrical work is something to leave to electricians. The government regulates this field to prevent electrocution and electrical fires that result from a lack of knowledge in repairing, installing, or upgrading fixtures, appliances, and other components of a home’s electrical system.

You must be careful whenever you use the circuit breaker for your home, even if you’re fixing a tripped breaker. Wear electric-safe gloves and goggles for your protection, or call us if you don’t feel comfortable messing with the electric panel. In many situations, a tripped breaker is a sign that your home needs an electrical repair or upgrade. If a breaker trips again, you’ll need to have an electrician take a look to determine what’s wrong with your home’s electricity.

Top-Rated Electrician in St. Louis

Potts Electric provides electrical services in St. Louis, including new construction work, electrical panel repair and installation, and smart home conversions. Using our services eliminates confusion and the need to research local laws. We handle the task of acquiring permits and ensuring that our work meets the legal code for your municipality.

We are one of the top electrical companies in Ellisville, MO and surrounding areas. A family-owned business, we have been serving the community for over 10 years. We have five-star reviews, showing that we provide quality service. Our services include electrical repairs, installations, upgrades, and maintenance. We can set up smart home systems as well as standby generators and electric car charging stations. You can depend on us when you need an electrical inspection too. Potts Electric has experienced electricians who show up on time and treat you with respect. Financing is also available on approved credit, making electrical work more affordable.

Don’t take the risk of doing dangerous DIY electrical repairs or installations. Contact Potts Electric to schedule an electrical repair, upgrade, or inspection.

Contact Potts Electric Today!

company icon