Do-It-Yourself—Or Don’t?

DIY projects can be fun and rewarding, but unlike painting, carpentry and plumbing, electrical mistakes can be deadly. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few jobs that can be tackled by a reasonably handy homeowner as long as they have an understanding of wiring and electrical codes.

Electrical Codes

Electrical codes are designed to protect people and structures from danger. The City and County of Denver subscribes to both the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the International Building Code (IBC). All work done must conform to these codes, with any local amendments. While code requirements can be very specific and complex, most simple DIY projects are straightforward enough to make code compliance easy. Visit the Denver government website for details. Other jurisdictions have similar information, as well.


Permit requirements vary by jurisdiction and type of work. In Denver, “like-for-like” electrical work doesn’t require a permit. This would include replacing light fixtures, switches, and outlets on residential systems under 200 amps. New or relocated outlets or any service changes do require a permit, and any work other than like-for-like involving more than 50 volts requires an inspection. Some DIY permits may require an exam to demonstrate proficiency.

To Do or Not to Do?

If you read, understand, and follow instructions, simple things like adding a dimmer switch or replacing a light fixture should be within your ability to handle without requiring a permit.

Projects like adding outlets, fixtures, or circuits will require a permit and possibly proof of your ability to handle them safely.

Other projects such as high-voltage circuits, panel or service upgrades or anything involving complex wiring should be left to experts.

Need Help?  Call a Pro

If you have questions or need help with your projects, the pros at Allstar Electrical Services are just a phone call away. We’ve been serving homeowners and businesses along Colorado’s Front Range since 2000 and are top-rated by the BBB and Angie’s List.

Whatever your electrical needs may be, call Allstar Electrical at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. Then use our handy on-line forms to request an estimate or set up an appointment.

Allstar also offers 24/7 radio-dispatched emergency service throughout our Front Range service area.

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