Must-Have Electrical Tools for Home Owners

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon, Published: December 29, 2010

Basic electrical tools will save you money on simple repairs and should be in every home owner’s toolbox. Electrical tools fall into two categories: test and repair. For those looking to take things into their own hands a little more (as much as SAFELY possible) there are also resources such as this AC Repairs for Dummies: 2019 Full Guide. However, despite the availability of these guides, not everyone’s cut out for a job like this. If you find yourself with some electrical problems or perhaps a broken HVAC system, invest in some professional help if you don’t feel comfortable completing the job yourself. If you’re worried about the cost of hiring a professional, you can easily find affordable heating and cooling services if you look around properly. Whilst some electrical jobs may seem simple and straightforward, that’s not always the case. If you’re confident with electricals, then you’ll probably feel up to completing the task. However, if you don’t have a wealth of knowledge about electricals, you might want to consider contacting your local electrician to complete the job. Whether you’re looking for Brighton’s leading electrical service provider or an electrician in London, you should be able to find someone qualified to help you regardless of where you’re located. It can sometimes be safer to let an electrician complete the job, even if it looks simple. However, for those who feel confident, here are some helpful tools you might need.

Test the power

Electrical testers are useful to determine if, where, and how much electricity is flowing–good and easy information to collect before you call an electrician.

Circuit tester: This plugs into an electrical outlet to test the presence of electricity, aka whether an outlet is “hot.” It’s a good tool to help you determine whether the lamp is broken or the outlet isn’t working. Make sure you test the tester on an outlet you know is hot, so you can trust its accuracy on others. Cost: $4.

Multimeter: One meter checks several electrical properties–AC or DC voltage, current, resistance–to help diagnose malfunctions. They’re digital or analog, and can test switches, batteries, and power sources. Cost: $15 digital; $10 analog.

Battery tester: Digital or analog meters are great for testing that drawer full of loose batteries. Cost depends on the types and sizes of batteries it tests. Cost: $15 for a household battery tester with an LCD display; $7 analog.

Repair the problem

Of course, we would say that if you need to get any major repairs done it would be better to contact a firm (such as WWW.ASBURYELECTRIC.COM/24-HOUR-EMERGENCY-ELECTRICAL-SERVICE/) to assist as they will be experts in what to do, but if you want to fix some minor things then make sure you have the right tools for the job.
Linemen’s pliers: These pliers grip, twist, and cut heavy wire and cable; they also can do double-duty to hammer nails or wire staples. Cost: $30 for 9″ pliers.

Long nose (needle-nosed) pliers: These skinny and grooved pliers have snipping blades that reach into small places to snip and bend the end of wire. Cost: $20 for 5″ pliers.

Wire stripper: This plier-like tool cuts through and strips plastic or rubber insulation around cable and wire. Cost: $12 for a 6″ stripper.

Insulated screwdrivers: Flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers come with insulated tops that protect against electrical shocks up to 1,000 volts. Cost: $40 (2-piece set; 4″ Phillips and flat).

Electrical tape: This plastic vinyl, ultra-sticky tape covers and insulates wire. Cost: $4 (3/4-inch, 66 ft.)

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is a HouseLogic managing editor and reviewer of As Seen On TV products for the Consumer Ally section of WalletPop.com.

Published on: Jan 26, 2011