Do I Need an Electrician to Change a Light Switch?

No matter the level of your DIY knowledge, all electrical works should be handled by a professional. Handling electrical components when you are inexperienced is dangerous and ill advised, and the wrong installation or repairs can be costly in the long run and can also lead to home accidents. So, for the sake of your safety, it is better to have an electrician carry out your repairs and installations rather than do it yourself.

Apart from the dangers associated with fiddling with electrical components, it is also against the law in the UK to carry out some types of electrical work without the services of a licensed electrician. The Building Regulations, which are not just guidelines but legal requirements, were updated in 2012 and included a clarification of “Part P” of 2005 laws on who can carry out electrical repairs in a home. It states that it is the responsibility of the landlord to make sure that any repairs of an electrical nature are conducted safely and do not put the lives of anyone in the building at risk.

Part P listed the jobs that should only be tackled by a licensed and professional electrician because they will be more demanding for someone without a professional background. And they also require a professional electrician that is approved by the local building control body to sign off on them.

Here is a list of jobs that require the attention of a licensed professional:

  • Installing a new light switch or additional sockets as a spur from a ring main
  • Running new circuits
  • Replacing a broken or old fuse board
  • Installing new electric radiators where there was none before
  • Installing outdoor or garden lights that run off mains electricity
  • Installing home entry systems
  • Installing electric towel radiators
  • Electrical installation condition report
  • Installing emergency lighting and hallway smoke alarms
  • Rewiring lights and sockets that are causing the fuse to trip

If you consider yourself a handy person and competent DIYer, there are some electrical jobs that you can handle yourself as they do not fall under Part P guidelines. They include:

  • Replacing a faulty light switch
  • Replacing sockets
  • Replacing doorbells
  • Replacing a hard-wired smoke detector
  • Installing or replacing an extractor fan with the same type as before
  • Replace a simple light fitting
  • Replace dimmer modules
  • Repair loose wiring in plugs or light fittings

It is best to have a professional come and fix your electrical problems, as your desire to save money by doing it yourself might backfire. There are electricians that provide good, quality services at affordable prices, so be sure to compare prices of different companies to get the best, and you could also check out their websites for reviews from their past customers.