Electrical work can be technical and tedious and should never be done by an amateur. With electrical work, it is critical that the job is done safely and accurately. Hiring an experienced and professional electrician means you can have your home’s electrical work done properly and to code. There are many places to find a good electrician, so start your research today.
How to Find a Good Local Electrician?
Finding a good electrician should be your number one priority. You may want to ask your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers if they have any good recommendations for professional electricians. The most important thing to remember when finding a good electrician is that they should have a valid business license and good insurance. Always ask to see their license before you agree to let them begin work because an invalid license means they are not allowed to work.
It is also a great idea to ask any local building professionals if they can recommend a good electrician, or have them let you know what you should be looking for before hiring one. Local building professionals should have a database of experienced electricians that they can suggest.
It may be helpful to reach out to your local township or municipality and see which electricians they suggest. Your municipality should also have records of all the registered electricians in the area that are highly recommended or have great reviews, so ask to see the records to help you make your decision.
If none of those options seem to work, look at reputable and professional online listings to find a good electrician. A quick search online of ‘electricians near me’ should turn up some great results to look through. There should be extensive lists online to pick from, and the best thing to do first is to contact a few of them for estimates.
What Jobs Can an Electrician Do?
Electricians are trained to do more than just wiring. In fact, an electrician is a skilled trades worker who can design, install, and fix electrical systems in both your home or business. Electricians are trained to do numerous jobs both inside and outside, but some specialize in specific areas more than others. During your research, you should find a description beside their name, of the jobs they specialize in. If not, ask!
Home rewiring is part of an electrician’s job. Rewiring can involve various tasks, such as wiring for lighting and power, installing telephone lines, portable appliances, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. They can even wire a home theatre system. The electrician you hire should be comfortable doing all of these jobs but always check with them first before assuming so.
If you are looking to have your electrical outlets upgraded, that is definitely a job an electrician can do for you. Jobs like upgrading outlets can be tedious and sometimes dangerous. Therefore, it is best to leave it to the professionals. An electrician can also convert any outlet you have into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter which is a common feature in most newer homes – especially when the outlet is near water.
Electricians can also install home automation systems which are widely known as a smart home system. This is quite an extensive installation, and it involves many intricate hook-ups. The electrician will have to work with the lighting, heating, air conditioning, security, ventilation, and home appliances when doing home automation wiring. Again, this is not something a homeowner should attempt on their own as the extensive nature and high-risk of the job increases the chances of doing something incorrectly.
Performing an electrical system inspection is best completed by an electrician. Even though you may think you know what you are doing, a professional will be able to safely and accurately perform the inspection and may catch something you could miss. The electrician you hire will be able to do a thorough examination of your home’s electrical wires, systems, appliances, and even the heating and ventilation system. They will do a checklist inspection and provide you with the report afterward. It is advised to have an electrical system inspection when you purchase a home or when your home is over 30 years old. Again, this is something that should be done by a licensed electrician, not the homeowner.
Electricians are usually trained to deal with whole-house surge protectors. This device can prove to be quite important because it protects all the appliances and systems in the home. Your electrician will be able to install one so that the technology in your home is protected.
Another job an electrician is well-trained to do is to install a breaker box. They will not only install it for you, but they will also help find one that is best suited for your home. If they find that your home needs more power, then your electrician can upgrade your breaker box to a new one that will allow for more power.
Another job that an electrician can safely handle is installing GFCI and AFCI outlets. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and AFCI stands for Arc-fault Circuit Interrupter. These two things should be handled by a professional only because if not installed correctly can potentially lead to electrical fires. No matter if the electrician specializes in residential or commercial wiring, they should feel comfortable and able to perform GFCI and AFCI installations.
Hiring an electrician is not an easy process because you want someone who is certified, experienced, affordable, and well-trained at what they do. Often, when you select someone out of a database, you take a gamble at not knowing if they are experienced enough to properly do a job.
However, most electricians who put their businesses out there, do good work and want to make the customer/home-owner happy. Always ask to see the electrician’s certificate, their license, and ask them about their job experience. After all, you are hiring them to come into your home and work with your electrical system. Therefore, you should ask all the questions you feel necessary. If you are ever wondering if an electrical job can be done, always ask! You’d be surprised at how much an electrician is trained to do.
The electrical system in your home may appear to be just a bunch of wires. However, it is actually a compilation of very important wires that create an intricate system. Your home’s electrical system is put together in a specific way to provide you and your family with safe and consistent power, 24 hours a day.
Whether or not you have any interest in electrical work you should familiarize yourself with your home’s electrical system so that you are aware of the basics, and can spot any problems that may occur. To help make your understanding of your home’s electrical system a slightly easier task, it may be helpful to focus on several main features of the electrical system.
Know Your Home’s Electrical System
As a homeowner, you should know the location of the electrical pole or utility pole that feeds the line to your property. This is especially important if trees limbs or other debris fall on the line within your property’s limits. You might be responsible for contacting your electric company or arborist to restore the line and remove any debris that causes damage. You should also be aware of overhead power lines, as these can be very dangerous. If you must perform work, such as yard maintenance, near the power lines, contact your power company so they can assist you; you should never work closer than 25 or 30 feet to a power line.
It is important to know where your home’s outdoor meter is located, but you should never tamper with it, attempt to remove it or allow children to play on or around it. The outdoor meter is a very important part of the electrical system, and it can reveal a sign of an electrical problem.
For instance, if you have lights flickering in your home and you are unable to pinpoint the cause, you may want to check your outdoor meter’s connection and consider the weather, because the meter is susceptible to weather damage. Always contact an electrician, or call your electric company, if anything seems wrong with your outdoor meter.
The next thing you should know is the location of the main circuit breaker. The main circuit breaker is responsible for handling an overflow of power from all of your individual circuits. For example, if you have all the lights turned on in the bedroom, start a vacuum cleaner, and then turn the TV on simultaneously, this could potentially cause the lights in the bedroom to turn off. What happens is that the circuit breaker notices the excess current from overloading the circuit and shuts down a switch. When the power goes off like this, you simply find your main circuit breaker and turn that particular switch back on again. It is a smart idea to inform all your family members of where the main circuit breaker is located in case they find themselves in this situation.
It is helpful to know which wires go to each room of the house from the circuit breaker, so you are aware of how many circuits are used for each room. This is also helpful if you decide to remodel or have new installations done. The typical home will have multiple wirings, such as with heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, and appliances. Furthermore, each room may use more or less power than another and therefore require a different number of electrical wires.
You should also be aware of your wiring if you are interested in upgrading any of your rooms such as a media room. Installing high-quality wiring and cable when remodeling will create a great-sounding movie room. When wiring the rooms of your home you need to be sure to have the proper number of rooms wired on an amp circuit. If you have too many, this could cause the power to overload.
Developing a good understanding of the outlets, light fixtures, and hardwired appliances in your home is very important. Whether you are interested in doing the wiring yourself or having a licensed electrician do it, there are some essential things to know about working with outlets.
If you want to add a new outlet to a wall, ensure that you are not adding it to a circuit that often blows the breaker. You should be diligent that you shut off the electricity before handling the outlet and working on it as to avoid any electric spark or shock. If the home you live in is quite old with deteriorating or old outlets, it may be best to call an experienced electrician who can handle them with caution.
When it comes to light fixtures, there are several ways to wire a lamp socket. If you are looking to fix a light fixture’s wiring, you may be working with items like short wires, bolt cutters, screws, mounting brackets, and a non-contact voltage detector. Similar to working with outlets, you never want to fix a light fixture without turning the power off first. You can check the wires of the light for voltage using a non-contact voltage detector which will keep you safe.
With hard-wired appliances, the building or home wiring is attached to the appliance itself. Most hard-wired appliances’ wires can be accessed similarly to that of plug-in appliances. If you wish to remove your hard-wired appliance, you must shut off the appliance, turn the circuit breaker for the appliance off, find a metal junction box and ensure the power is indeed off. From there, you should be able to access the wires. You will need a variety of tools for this procedure, like screwdrivers, a voltage tester, and a wrench. Always check with your electrician about your hard-wired appliances if you are interested in changing the appliance or working on the wires of it.
How to Pick the Right Electrician
Even if the electrical job you want to have done is small, choosing the right electrician is one of the most important decisions you can make. To make sure that the electrician you hire is suitable for your job, there are several things you will want to ask him or her. You will have to ask yourself whether the job is residential, commercial, simple, or complex because certain electricians are more experienced in specific areas.
If you are wanting to have an electrician come to your home to do an electrical job, you should select a residential electrician. A residential electrician is someone who specializes in home electrical work, such as outlet replacements, wire upgrades, and even smoke detector system wiring. Always inquire with a residential electrician about any small or large job you would like done, and they can provide you with a cost estimate and timeline for the job.
Large businesses and corporations should receive electrical work done by commercial electricians. These electricians specialize in large office building lighting, air conditioning, and any maintenance or sound system wiring. Always speak with your electrician to determine if they are the best fit for your electrical needs. Most commercial electricians work great alongside business owners to provide the best service possible for their businesses, whether big or small.
The last thing you should consider when choosing a good electrician is whether or not you want to hire a journeyman electrician or a master electrician. There is a difference between the two of these job titles which either may or may not matter to you. A journeyman electrician is someone who has several thousand hours of experience in electrical work and is trained under a master electrician.
A master electrician has more hours of experience and a lot more training under their belt. Furthermore, a master electrician is able to operate their own business, whereas a journeyman electrician must work under the master electrician. That all being said, when it comes to hiring an electrician, you may wonder which of the two is better. The answer to that question is it is simply up to you. Journeymen electricians and master electricians are both adequately trained. However, the master electrician may be more qualified and experienced in certain areas. Either way, both a journeyman or master electrician should be able to get your electrical job done efficiently. You can do a quick search online for electricians in your area and start contacting them to help you select the best one possible.
You need to be able to trust your electrician with any electrical work you have and know that it will be done accurately and in a timely matter. Your electrician will enter your home or your business which means that there are some important things you should know about them. Before hiring an electrician, make sure you check on a few important criteria, and that you have done your homework, before signing any papers.
What to Know About Your Electrician
Electricians are often experienced in a variety of job types ranging from domestic work to commercial work. These jobs can involve anything from rewiring, smoke alarms, lighting, CCTV, visual media systems, and even electrical work on machines. Whichever type of work you want to have done, it is best to hire an electrician that is experienced in that particular area, so you can get the job done accurately. Although electricians are trained to handle a variety of electrical work, some electricians will feel more confident and be more experienced around certain jobs.
It is important that the licensed electrician you hire has liability insurance to cover anything that may go wrong and to give you peace of mind. Typically, this insurance covers things such as property damage and general liability coverages. Always ask your electrician what kinds of insurance he or she has before you allow them to begin any work. If they do not have insurance, then you need to strongly reconsider hiring them. Their insurance will protect any job they are involved in, and you want to be sure they have enough insurance to cover yours.
References are key when deciding on whether or not you should hire an electrician. Logging in online and reading reviews from past customers is a great way to gauge if the electrician you are looking at is someone you can trust and whether or not they will do good work. When someone has a lack of references, it can look like they are not as experienced as they claim to be or that they are hiding something. Ask for past, employer references and any other references they can provide; a reference can give you a quick view into how dedicated and experienced they are.
Additionally, you should check if any complaints exist in reference to the electrician you are interested in hiring. Naturally, as with any business, there can be some complaints from unhappy customers. You have to ask yourself if the complaints are small and not problematic for you. However, be on the lookout for a lot of complaints from a variety of people, as this could be a sign that the electrician is not reputable. Sometimes, there are people out there who like to write nasty comments for no reason, so use your judgment before making your decision.
5 Questions to Ask Your Electrician About the Job
Before hiring an electrician, you should create a checklist of questions to ask before agreeing to have them start any work. Always begin with asking when they will start your electrical project. It is important to know when your electrical job will start so that you can make arrangements to be home or to have the space ready for them. Most electricians are accommodating to their customer’s plans and busy lifestyles and will schedule the job accordingly.
You should also ask how long the job will take. Sometimes, depending on the type of job, the electrician will need a lot of time. Usually, he or she will want to get the job done efficiently, but you should always be aware that an electrical job could take some time depending on its extent and complexity. Furthermore, a situation could arise that makes it more complex than originally thought. This could require ordering additional parts which takes time. Patience is key!
Knowing the final price of the job is important, and it’s good to ask your electrician for a close estimate. Most often, they will be able to do this. However, if other issues arise during the job and it may be wise to set some money aside in case the final price changes.
Additional charges are normal for any labor-based job. Some electricians charge trip fees that cover their gas cost, vehicle/equipment maintenance, and the cost of their insurance. This may seem like an unnecessary fee, but homeowners should also know that this fee most likely means that the electrician either works for or owns a reputable business. It is common for additional charges to occur, but if you are concerned about any of them, then ask your electrician. They should be able to provide you with an overview of the charges and explain them in detail to you.
If you prefer eco-friendly products, ask your electrician about eco-friendly options! Some companies only use eco-friendly products, while some offer them to customers only when they ask. Green products can be used with lighting or with heating and air conditioning systems. You may want to do some research and find a company that does eco-friendly electrical work if this is important to you. In the long run, hiring an eco-friendly electrician can save you money.
As a homeowner, you should be very thorough when looking to hire an electrician. After all, this person is coming into your home and dealing with intricate wires and complex systems. Always make a checklist of questions you want to ask. And, if you are ever concerned about something – ask! The electrician is there to satisfy you, and therefore they should be diligent about making sure that all of your questions are answered. Make sure that they are licensed, certified, experienced, and have reputable reviews and references. And last, but not least, always have an in-person interview to discuss final questions, and so you can determine if their personality is a good fit for you.
Electrical wiring is made up of a variety of materials, and it is actually more complex than one may think. Homeowners should be aware of the different types of wiring in their home, even if they do not plan on working on the wiring themselves, as it can be beneficial when recognizing wiring problems.
Types of Electrical Wiring
Single-strand wiring is a common type of wiring that is often chosen because of its affordability. Compared to multi-strand wiring, which is very flexible, single-strand wiring does not have much movement to it. Therefore, single-strand is ideal for things that won’t be moved around much. Multi-strand wiring is best suited for situations where the wiring will be moved and needs to be flexible, such as in lamps or ceiling fans.
Additionally, double-strand wiring does not crack or experience metal fatigue as compared to single-stranded wiring. With this in mind, the homeowner should be able to select which is best for their needs. Also, be sure to ask your electrician which they intend to use
The next type of wiring you should know something about is sheathed wire. Sheathed wire is enveloped in a sheath that serves as insulation. It is used in residential and commercial wiring and can be purchased in a variety of forms such as metal-sheathed wire and non-metallic sheath.
This style of wiring is best suited for low voltage situations. The sheath on the wiring protects the cables from any damage related to water, air, or moisture. Using this type of wiring can be expensive and is often not typically used by homeowners due to its tedious installation.
Triplex wires are another commonly used wire in electrical work that involves single-phase services. These wires are comprised of two wires wrapped in aluminum with a single bare wire that is a neutral ground wire. These three wires are twisted around one another.
Another type of wiring to know about is called main feed wires. This type of wiring involves wires that connect the service to the house. If your home has overhead electrical service, then you more than likely have what is called a weatherhead, or weathercap. In fact, you can find out for yourself by taking a look outside and seeing if there is a cap situated on a metal pole coming out from your roof.
Indoor wiring and outdoor wiring are very different from one another, and this is something a homeowner should definitely be aware of. To begin with, the insulation is different on indoor wiring versus outdoor wiring, mainly because the outdoor wiring is exposed to harsher elements and needs more insulation. Other things to consider is plug type, amperage, and gauge.
When having electrical work done, there are many important things to consider. Perhaps there are electrical jobs you didn’t even realize you could call an electrician to assist you with.
5 Electrical Jobs You Don’t Often Think About
- Installing an Electric Vehicle Charging Station
An EVCS, electric vehicle charging station, is a necessary device to have if you drive an electric car. An electric vehicle owner will need to have an EVCS at their home to charge their car every night. You should receive a Level 1, 110-volt charging cord with your electric vehicle when you purchase it. This cord plugs into any typical outlet. If you are someone who travels long distances in your electric car, you may want to have an electrician install a wall-mounted Level 2 charging station which operates at 240 volts instead of 110 volts.
- Installing a Lightning Protection System
A lightning protection system is a great way to protect your property from lightning strikes. This system operates by keeping lightning strikes from reaching the ground. They are composed of four parts: copper air terminals, copper cable, copper clad ground rods, and surge suppressors. Any property can benefit from a lightning protection system, especially businesses, farms, boats, and your home. An electrician can accurately install this protection system wherever you need it to keep your family and your belongings safe.
- Repairing a Generator
A generator can be used to back up your home in case of a power outage. And when they are not working properly or at all, it can be problematic. Generators can be quite expensive to fix, ranging in the upper $500-700 dollars. That being said, it is a worthwhile investment to have your generator running smoothly so that you do not have to go without power if your neighborhood has a power outage. If you have any concerns about your generator, it is best to speak with a licensed electrician so that they can tend to it efficiently.
- Repairing a Telephone System
Your telephone system is comprised of many wires, such as computer modem, phone, cord, jack, service wire, utility pole, telephone cable, and terminal. However, not all parts of the system are your responsibility (only what is in the home). If you wish to work on your telephone system yourself, be sure not to touch any wiring or outlets that belong to the telephone company. If ever in doubt, call an electrician to assist you with this task as they will make sure the job is done safely and accurately. Or, you can even try calling the phone company directly if you think the problem falls under their responsibility.
- Repairing an Electric Garage Door Opener
Typically, most electric garage door issues are not too complex to fix yourself. You should make a quick check of the opener to try and find where the problem exists. For example, check the motor unit and ensure it is plugged in, check if other lights are out as this could be a sign of a circuit breaker issue, and also make sure that the motor is not burned out. If any of these things have occurred, it is best to contact a professional to fix them. Other problems could be related to a battery problem, or maybe your keypad needs reprogramming. Sometimes, an electric garage door opener can be a simple fix for the homeowner to do, but other times it is helpful to have a professional tend to the issue.
Electrical work requires the use of a variety of materials that can range from affordable to expensive. These materials, in turn, can cost the homeowner a lot of money. That being said, it is important to be aware of the type of wiring used in your home and how much it could potentially cost to repair or replace.
Additionally, it is beneficial as a homeowner to know of the different kinds of electrical jobs that you may not have realized an electrician can help you with. No matter how small of an electrical issue you may encounter, an electrician can help you tend to the problem. A quick search online or in a phone book for electricians can find a lot of skilled and qualified electricians in your area to help.
In our everyday lives, there are very few things that do not involve electricity. Ever since scientists discovered a way to put electrical phenomena into applicable and practical use in the late nineteenth century, we haven’t stopped using electricity. The importance of electricity in our lives can never be underestimated. The fact is we use electricity for everything nowadays. Our cities, our workplaces, and our homes can’t function without the power of electricity. So, what is it exactly? How does this natural energy power up everything around us?
How Does Electricity Work?
Electricity is defined as a physical phenomenon associated with the presence of an electrical charge, together with motion. It’s something that just naturally happens. However, the electricity that powers up your home is quite different. That electricity is typically generated through other types of energy and resources including, but not limited to, natural gas and oil, coal, wind, water, and solar energy. Engineers have figured out a way to harness these energy sources and convert them into electricity through the use of a magnet that spins inside coils of wire. This conversion happens en masse in power plants. As the magnet spins through the use of a fan, an electric current is produced. This current becomes the electricity that flows through power lines and into our homes to power up all our electronics.
Voltage is defined as the difference in charge of potential energy between two points on any circuit. One point in a circuit will always have more charge than another. The difference between these charges is the voltage. Voltage is also known as the electromotive force, and it is used to measure the flow of electrical current. When there is a high amount of charge on one point in a circuit, the more voltage there will be. The greater the voltage, the greater the flow of current is.
An electric current is simply defined as the flow of electric charge. You can also think of it as electric charge in motion. It can come in many forms. For example, a strike of a lightning bolt is a current. But for our purposes, we think of electric current as the controlled form of electricity as created from generators, batteries, fuel cells, and solar cells. The unit for measuring current is called the ampere, which is defined as the flow of electric charge across any surface at the rate of one coulomb per second.
A watt is a unit for measuring power, defined here as the amount of energy per unit time. The watt specifies the rate at which electrical energy is dispersed or the rate at which energy is transferred. For example, a 60-watt light bulb will consume electricity at a rate of 60 watts. Everything that uses electricity has an equivalent wattage, which means that they all will consume electricity at their own rate. Most pieces of equipment or electronic devices today will come with power ratings to let you know the rate at which they use up energy.
Hiring a Professional Electrician vs. DIY
Electricity is not the easiest topic to understand. There’s a lot of knowledge and skill (and math) involved in getting it right, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn it. Once you grasp the foundation of how electricity works, you’ll immediately have a basic understanding of many electrical things that happen all around you. Having said that, there are still a lot of information and procedures that deal with electrical processes that only professional electricians are able to do. If you’re considering a DIY electrical project and have no electrical background, consider these factors before proceeding.
Permits and Inspection
Of course, there’s no problem with you changing light bulbs in your house. That’s probably the extent to which most of us can handle electrical jobs. However, when you find yourself needing to open up outlets or get behind walls to access electrical wirings, then it’s time for you to call the professional.
Permits and inspections are in place to protect the health and safety of people and properties from electrical shocks, fires, and explosions. You should never perform any electrical duties that are beyond the scope of your skills. Most of the time, you’ll need to have a permit in order to do more intensive electrical work such as installing or altering permanent wiring. Most permits will also require a final inspection to determine whether the electrical work was done to safety standards.
Can Be Dangerous
We all know that electrical work can be extremely dangerous. Even a little shock from a malfunctioning outlet can cause some pain. Getting electrocuted can be fatal, and this is the reason why it is never recommended for anyone to perform any intensive electrical work without the proper knowledge to do so. DIY electrical jobs should only include superficial work.
You should never open up an electrical plate unless it is something that you’re very familiar with or have experience doing in the past. Besides getting electrical shocks, there are other consequences of faulty electrical installation. If you’ve missed even one single step, you can cause a fire or even an explosion, endangering the lives of everyone in the surrounding area.
Knowledge and Experience
Before you decide to tackle any DIY electrical projects, make sure that you educate yourself first. It isn’t enough to just learn the procedures for your particular project; you have to get into the details of how the wiring works throughout the building or property you’re working in. You should also have intermediate to advanced knowledge of how electricity works altogether.
If electrical work something that you’re interested in doing for yourself, get a certification or spend some time with a licensed electrician and learn how to do things properly. Otherwise, you are better off hiring a professional to do the electrical work that you need to have done. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.