Hire an Electrician Before You Need One

backyard_palmMost homeowners call electricians only in an emergency or if they’re building or re-modeling. However, its important to find a skilled electrician before you need one. The reasoning behind this is that if you experience a major electrical problem in your home that needs to be handled right away, you won’t be thinking clearly. This increases the possibility that you might hire someone you normally never would have if you had had the time to research them and their work. If you have a great one before a major problem happens, you’ll be able to trust that it will be fixed correctly, because they will already know the in’s and out’s of your home and its wiring. When finding an electrician, you should look for the following things: a4a8a31750a23de2da88ef6a491dfd5c_1433688054

Continuing Education: A company with a good reputation will require staff to attend regular training courses and stay current on the National Electrical Code, which is amended every three years.

Permits: A permit is usually required in most counties and from the power company any time you’re replacing a home’s main electrical equipment or doing a significant amount of rewiring.

Licensing: If your state requires electricians to be licensed, check that the license is current. Poor wire connections, overloaded circuits, improper grounding and broken safety elements on an electrical panel are just a few of the problems that can arise from an inexperienced electrician. You should also protect yourself by verifying their bonding and insurance, including general liability and workers’ compensation coverage.

Specialization: Since companies specialize in different areas and scopes of work, it’s important for homeowners to hire the right company or individual. For example, if a homeowner wants only to replace outlets and switches, then he or she probably shouldn’t waste time calling commercial electricians that wire large buildings.

Find out who’s doing the work: You’ll want to know if the electrician does the job themselves, if they employ helpers or apprentices, or if they use subcontractors. In the case of helpers and apprentices, verify that a licensed electrician will supervise them, and in the case of subcontractors, make sure their insurance covers you as well. Outlet-Fire-resized-600.jpg

Ask about their warranty: Highly rated electricians say a good contractor will offer a parts and labor warranty to show that they stand behind their work. DIY projects are great. They’re fun, and a great way to save money. However, when it comes to electrical work, DIY is not the answer. You can cause more damage than was already there, and can actually create problems that were not there before, or worse, potential hazards. Electrical work is all about codes and regulations. Lighting fixtures, outlets or receptacles are one thing, but anything further than that, it is recommended that you hire an electrician.

Here are some signs that your home might need immediate electrical help:

-Feeling mild shocks from appliances (likely a ground fault issue)
-Light switches or receptacles that randomly turn on and off (likely a problem with loose wiring or internal damage)
-Outlets emitting a burning odor or sparks; this is an important one. If this happens, immediately turn off the electrical panel and call an electrician as you could be at immediate risk for a fire.

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2 comments

  • I don’t think it makes sense to call an electrician unless you need him. I mean..chances are they might tell you “ohh…this needs to be fixed, we caught it JUST in time.” When really, whatever it was is fine. Seems like an unnecessary visit to me.

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  • I kind of agree. But I did like the article, and I think it made lots of valuable points. If I were in an older home, I think I would really consider having an electrician come by and just make sure everything is okay about once a year.

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