If you're replacing outlets or light switches in your home, you likely already have the information you need to get the job done. However, you may not know what to do if the insulation on the wire that runs from the switch to the circuit breaker box is damaged. This guide explains the steps to take to fix the insulation to keep your home safe from an electrical fire.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Repairing the insulation on the wiring is simple, but you will need a few supplies. Gather these items to get started:
- heat-shrink tubing
- utility knife
- blow dryer
- tape measure
- non-contact circuit tester
Step 2: Make Sure the Power Is Off
You probably already have the power off because you are replacing the light switch, but run the non-contact circuit tester over the wire to double check. If the tester sends an alert that the power is still on, stop here and call an electrician. Otherwise, continue with the process.
Step 3: Measure and Cut the Tubing
Use the tape measure to get the amount of tubing you'll need by placing it about an inch past the damaged area and then pulling it to an inch past the other side.
Measure the heat-shrink tubing to the same size as the damaged area and mark the length with a pencil. Cut the tubing with the utility knife on the pencil mark.
Step 4: Place the Tubing
Wrap the tubing around the damaged area. Double check that the entire rip, fray or otherwise compromised spot is covered. Call an electrician for damage against the electrical box that does not have enough room to place the tube.
Step 5: Apply Heat
Turn the blow dryer on its lowest setting and hold it several inches away from the tubing. Run the dryer back and forth along the tubing. As the dryer heats it, the tube shrinks and creates a solid insulated covering over the wire.
Consideration: Some people might use a blowtorch instead of a dryer to heat shrink the tubing. However, a blow dryer is safer, even though it might take several minutes to shrink the tube.
Wait a few minutes for the tubing to cool before proceeding with installing the light switch. Call your electrician if you have any problems with these steps, or if you notice other electrical issues along the way. Share this with others who are replacing light switches and may not know what to do with damaged insulation on their wiring.
For more information, contact Action Electric or a similar company.