Electrical work is usually a surprise, and it strikes without warning. Most of the time, when it happens, we find that we do not have the right electrical supplies to fix the problem. While some electrical work takes special supplies and tools, there are some electrical supplies that can be used interchangeably between jobs and it is best to have them on hand before the unexpected occurs.
We decided to research and find out which electrical supplies every household should have when surprise electrical work occurs. We finally settled on 16 that we feel you cannot live without. We will also tell you where to buy them. So, before your next surprise electrical job hits, be sure to have these electrical supplies available in your household.
The Importance of Electrical Supplies
Like we said before, electrical work is not usually something you plan. It happens suddenly, and when it happens, you have to fix it as quickly as possible. Having the right electrical supplies on hand can make all the difference in getting things up and running quickly.
Where Can I Get Electrical Supplies?
The best place to get electrical supplies is from an electrical distributor. Just as you would buy car parts from a parts distributor, electrical distributors specialize in what you need to get the job done. Their employees are also available to help you choose the right supplies and offer suggestions for the job at hand.
What Types of Electrical Supplies Are Available From an Electrical Distributor?
Every imaginable electrical part is available from an electrical distributor. Electrical boxes, wiring, batteries, fasteners, fuses, measuring tools, switches, and tape are only a small example of the thousands of items available within their warehouse.
Which Electrical Supplies Will I Need Most for Those Surprise Electrical Jobs?
While there are special tools and supplies needed for certain jobs, there are certain electrical supplies that you will need for just about every electrical job. We will focus on those types of electrical supplies within this article in more detail.
Why Is It Important to Have These Supplies on Hand?
If you have ever been without electricity for any length of time, you know how it interrupts every aspect of your lifestyle. Having the right electrical supplies in-house when you need them can cut down on the time it takes to get the household up and running again. Also, safety is a key factor in electrical work. Having something as simple as a voltmeter to tell you whether circuits are alive or turned off can mean the difference between life and death.
Are Electrical Supplies Expensive?
Most electrical supplies, including the ones we will review here today, are surprisingly affordable and worth every penny.
The 16 Electrical Supplies You Need for Electrical Projects
We decided on 16 tools, or electrical supplies, that are needed for just about every electrical project. We feel confident that if you will add these to your electrical supplies arsenal, you will be ready for that next job that comes up unexpectedly.
One of the most needed and used tools is a tape measure. These flexible rulers are usually made of metal, cloth, or fiberglass, and come in different lengths. They are used to measure distance, and most electrical projects will require the use of one.
Any electrical project that requires securing nails will need a hammer. Whether driving wire staples or nailing electrical boxes to the wall, this is a must-have tool for your toolbox. The claw on the back of the hammer is also necessary to pull nails out and remove the old items that need to be replaced.
Electrical work requires navigating a lot of dark spaces like attics and basements. Also, if the power goes out, the flashlight may be the best tool in your arsenal. You may want to buy more than one.
Whether opening boxes of electrical supplies, cutting electrical tape, or stripping non-metallic sheathing, a utility knife is used either directly or indirectly in most electrical projects.
If you are putting in boxes, outlets, and covers, or installing anything, this should be the first tool that you reach for to make sure they are level. A torpedo level is the difference between doing a project and doing it right.
Diagonal cutting pliers are sometimes called side snips and are made for cutting wire. They have a cutting edge all the way to the tip that enables the user to get into tight spaces and cut wire. Some types can even detect live wires. You definitely want to add these to your toolbox.
Perhaps this item should have been #1 on our list. With electricity, safety has to come first, and this handy tool ensures that it is. This tester will detect electricity just by being near to an outlet slot or wire. If it does not read any live electricity, it is safe to proceed with your project.
Tongue and groove pliers are adjustable and can be used for many projects including turning and holding nuts, tightening cable clamps, and adjusting irregularly shaped objects. These pliers come in handy because they can adjust to different sizes, but the handle stays the same distance for easy handling and leverage.
Wire has an electrical insulation that covers the electrical wires, and wire strippers are used to strip this insulation away. Wire strippers have a variety of holes to allow different gauges of wire to be cut. Once the insulation is cut all the way around, it can be pulled or stripped away easily.
An Allen wrench set, or Hex set, comes in both standard and metric sizes. Both are needed for electrical projects. Hex head screws, which are used in a lot of electrical installations, require this kind of tool for proper adjustment.
From removing, to installing; straight-blade screwdrivers are a necessity for electricians and anyone who does DIY projects. When buying straight-blade screwdrivers, it is best to buy a set because they come in different sizes, and it is good to have a variety on hand. If you are choosing just one straight-blade screwdriver, choose a medium-sized one, as this is the most common.
Phillips screwdrivers come in #1, #2, and #3 tip sizes. They also come in different lengths and are used in just about every electrical project. It is best to have an assortment of these on hand to make sure they cover all the bases. These come in sets just like the straight-blade screwdrivers and are worth buying.
We consider this one a necessity. As with the voltage tester, the voltmeter and the multimeter are extremely important for safety. A voltmeter reads voltage levels and verifies if circuits are live or if they are turned off. Multimeters can also read voltage levels, but they also read current, resistance, DC voltage, and amperage. This should be one of your first purchases.
Wire crimpers are a tool used to join two pieces of metal together, either permanently or temporarily. The tool deforms one or both pieces of metal, causing them to hold on to each other. The result of this tool’s work is called a crimp. One example would be attaching a metal connector to exposed wires, then crimping the connector until the wires are inside of it and no longer exposed.
If these pliers are important for a lineman to use, then every household should have a set for their electrical projects. These pliers can do it all. They will grip wires, twist wires together, and cut wires. The tip is used for twisting wires. There is a cutting blade in the center of the tool, and the handles are used to grip and pull the wire.
A fish tape is a long, thin, flat steel wire that is wound up inside a donut-shaped wheel. It is used to pull wire through an electrical conduit. “Pulling” wire through an electrical conduit is almost impossible without the use of this tool. But, by attaching the steel wire of the fish tape to the wires on the other side, you can “fish” them through the conduit from the other end; hence, the name.
There you have it – the 16 items you should have on hand the next time surprise electrical work comes up. Your local electrical distributor will have these electrical supplies plus everything else you will need to complete your project. If you don’t know your local electrical distributor, you can easily find them in the phone book or on the internet. Remember, it is best to prepare ahead of time, so pick these up today before you actually need them. You will be glad you did.