I’m just going to admit right now that there has been more than one time in my life that I straightened out a bobby pin and tried to use it to unscrew a switch plate cover instead of digging through the Bermuda Triangle of tools that gather around my workbench to find a screwdriver. I’m telling you, things go into that area and they never come out again. (Hence the new tool boxes.)
Also I once electrocuted myself with a phone line, but I swear I was using approved equipment that time and not repurposed fashion accessories. Anyway, given that and the fact that MysteryMans BFF was the Chief Electrician for the Memorial House, I never actually felt the need to stock up on “electrical stuff”. I’m happy to try not to cut my fingers off with the saws most of the time and let someone else worry about getting zapped.
Except now that I’m out on my own I find the occasional light fixture or switch needs to be changed, and what’s a girl to do except for stock up on more tools? (That’s rhetorical, by the way. I know what else I should be doing besides buying more tools… laundry. But still.)
Here are the tools on my list for basic electrical work:
#1 Voltage Tester
Takes the guess work out of whether or not you’re about to get electrocuted. Hold this close to an outlet or wire and it will beep (or beep, light up, and vibrate if you get the fancy version) to let you know if the wire is hot.
#2 Rubber Grip Hand Tools
I have a flat and phillips head screwdriver made specifically for electrical work that I keep separate from the other tools so that I don’t feel the urge to pull things out of my hair and stick them in the electrical outlets. This is an added protection against zappage (and their the right size for most outlet and cover screws.
#3 Multi-Purpose Wire Stripper/Bender
Great for stripping (the PG kind) and bending wires. The Chief Electrician once showed me how to use it properly (hint: stick the wire in the hole and then bend it over to make the perfect “hook” for connecting wires to switches) and I’ll never go back to the utility-knife-and-pliers method of stripping and bending wires.
#4 Wire Nuts
Keep a box on hand. You’ll never know when you need some.
#5 Electrical Tape
Bonus Tool: Digital Multimeter
This one might be just one step beyond basic, but a multimeter can measure current, resistance, and voltage, which can come in handy if you’re troubleshooting electrical issues on small appliances (or tools).
That’s my take on it anyway. Any other must-have tools you keep in your electrical kits? Also, now accepting clever names for my electrical toolbox, which I plan to finish this weekend. “Buzzers, Beepers, and Anti-zappers” is high on the list.