Competent and experienced electricians are usually expected to know almost everything there is to know about their job. However, it’s not a rarity for them to be unaware of “little” but useful methods, tips, or hacks they can use in the trade.
Presented below are some of these useful things worth knowing. These are mostly simple hacks but are often overlooked by electricians.
1. Use potato peeler to peel underground feeder cable
Need a quick way to peel that UF cable? Get your potato peeler. This method does not guarantee that you will not be stripping the insulation off but using a potato peeler surely makes it easier not to, as compared to the usual methods.
Of course, you can’t expect to be instantly good at doing it so it would be better to try this method on a UF cable you wouldn’t be using first before doing it on the actual underground feeder cable you will be using.
2. Take pictures
This is not really a hack but a noteworthy tip and is a particularly useful tip for newbies. If you are working on something complicated, it would be advisable to take pictures of what you are working on. This is to make sure that you will have a guide later on just in case you forget how to put things back again. This also serves as a good insurance in case you get accused of doing unnecessary things or if the client insinuates that you are just exaggerating the problem to charge bigger.
There’s rarely a mobile phone that does not have a camera nowadays so better put that camera to good use.
3. If you don’t have a circuit identifier, use a radio or some appliance that produces loud sound
Having a problem with a circuit breaker? Not sure what a circuit breaker is or how does it look like? In the absence of a circuit identifier, what you can do is to connect a radio or some appliance that can product a loud sound to the circuit you want to identify. Turn the volume to maximum or a level audible enough from where the circuit breaker is located. Then, go to the circuit breaker and start flipping switches until you identify which switch corresponds to which circuit.
4. Use a plastic bag to serve as mouse pull string
Typically, a pre-warped floss line is used to blow through a pipe but this does not always work. If you encounter difficulties getting a wire into a conduit from one end to the other, what you can do is to find a piece of plastic bag and ready the vacuum cleaner. Just shape the plastic into something elongated that fits into the conduit and securely attach the string or floss line to it. You may then insert the plastic into the conduit and pull it using the vacuum cleaner on the other end. It should easily run to the other end. If not, adjust the size and shape of the plastic. Make sure it’s not too big or the fit is not too tight (into the conduit) so it can smoothly run along the conduit.
5. Use this alternative method of reaming a pipe
When cutting an electrical metallic tubing (EMT), reaming is considered a standard procedure. If you are working on a small pipe run that does not have a file to ream, you can cut the pipe and use a scrap (the cut part) to rub the inner and outer diameter of the remaining piece. Do circular back and forth motions to create a smooth fitting for the connector or coupling. This is a convenient reaming method you can resort to in case you don’t have the usual reaming tools with you.
6. Easily install MC or BX cable with this method
If you are installing an aluminum or metal fabricated cable assembly, it is advisable to always start with the end from the center or middle of the coil. Get the end from the center and take out just enough coils equivalent to the length of the run you will be installing, then roll this out on the floor between your forearms.
If you are doing an installation on a larger scale that may require the installation of an entire roll, first unroll the whole cable on the floor and take the end you lst end up with, then proceed to installing the cable. Doing this prevents or greatly reduces drag and the chances of getting stuck on metal studs, bar joists, or other potential obstacles.
7. Use electrician apps
Well, this is arguably the most important tip. Nowadays, you can easily find mobile apps designed to help electricians with their jobs. You can get an electrician app that has everything that you need, including guides and tips for doing an efficient job.
The app you may pick may already have everything the details mentioned above—possibly with more details and useful illustrations. Don’t hesitate to use new technology. You can also get apps for electricians that can help you organize your job schedule and facilitate price quoting and invoicing.
Working as an electrician can be exciting and can often be challenging. If you are new to the trade, you need to quickly build your knowhow and pay close attention to every learning experience. Be sure to exert enough effort to become more proficient to have an easier and more productive endeavor.