Things to Consider Before Selecting an Electrician

electrical contractorThe National Fire Protection Association reports that between the years 2010 to 2014, fire departments all over the U.S. responded to an annual average of 45,210 cases of home fires that were traced to electrical malfunctions. This is a scary figure.

A fire wreaks havoc in the lives of people some of whom become homeless or lose loved ones.

It is often emphasized among home or business owners to carefully choose electrical contractors when they have electrical needs because it is not something you take for granted. A trustworthy and knowledgeable electrician is a must when confronted with electrical problems. You should never rely on someone inexperienced and unlicensed.

Choosing an electrician requires due diligence on your part when searching for the perfect one. You need to consider several factors before choosing an electrical contractor. 

  1. Qualifications and Experience

Know how long the electrical contractor has been in the business. Go through their websites because their “About” section would usually display this information. An electrical contractor who has been in the business for many years would already have a lot of experience. A licensed Master Electrician normally has a minimum of three years experience.

Ask about their technical proficiency regarding electrical system reliability and electrical safety. Also, check for their accreditations for certain services.

electrical contractors on the jobThey should also comply with national standards for electrical safety.

 

  1. License

An electrical contractor is not allowed to practice without a valid license. An individual can only be allowed to take a licensing exam after obtaining the right education and skills. This assures prospective customers that they can do the job safely and correctly.  A licensed electrician ensures you are dealing with a trained professional and not an amateur.

Also, ask to see their license to check if it is current, and if the electrical problem you need help with is covered by their license. Getting a license for electricians as well as chiropractors in columbus ohio is not an easy job.

  1. Insurance

Does the electrical contractor have insurance to cover for unexpected problems that may arise? The contractor should comply with government requirements and regulations, and one of these is insurance so they could indemnify customers. Check their insurance policies if it is current.

  1. Value for Money

Are you getting the best rate in the market? It is always best to get at least three price quotations before you decide. Learn to search and compare. Go for services with reasonable rates that you can afford and within your price expectations.

When you ask for their service rate, make sure you give them a good description of the electrical job you require so they could give you a fair and accurate quote.

For certain services like installation of electrical wiring system for a new house, know what their package includes. You do not want to get unexpected additional charges after the work is completed.  You should not be paying more for something that should be covered by the service. Ensure you get only the best contractor who can deliver the solutions you need.

  1. Reputation

The internet abounds with websites that offer customer reviews on various services and products. Check them out to get to know your electrical contractors better and the kind of service they provide. They may not please everyone, but the best ones almost always have glowing and honest reviews from satisfied customers.

You may also ask the contractor for references from previous customers or employers who could vouch for their skill and reliability, among others.

  1. Recommendations

If you know someone who recently had an electrical job done, get in touch with them and ask about their experience and recommendation. A happy customer would always have only good things to say about an electrical contractor.

  1. Communication and Customer Service

A knowledgeable electrical contractor should be able to explain to you in simple language the complexities of your electrical needs. It could get confusing at times so they should be able to explain it to you without making you feel like you know nothing. It should be explained to you in a friendly tone and manner.

An excellent customer service is a must in this business. Go for someone who listens to you and not someone who gives short, unintelligible answers over the phone without understanding your problem or when you ask for a quote.

Communication is also important to avoid any misunderstanding when the work starts. They should be able to contact you in case they would not make it on the appointed time in case of delays.

They should also be presentable at all times.

The Job of an Electrical Contractor

Do you ever wonder how electricity can make your television, computer and electrical appliances work? It is a complex matter that should be left to the experts.

Electrical contractors are available to make all your electrical appliances and equipment work, including your much-loved gadgets that wouldn’t work if it has no charge. People would feel like living in the Stone Age if there is no electrical system in homes, buildings and other establishments.

Electricity makes life better and comfortable – it keeps people warm during winter with the help of heating systems; it helps curb criminality when streets are well-lit, etc.

Electrical contractors deserve recognition for a job well done. Emergency electrician can install, maintain and repair electrical systems that power communications, lights and control systems. These jobs are rendered in residential, commercial or industrial areas.

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Here’s a list of the typical jobs electrical contractors do:

* Installation of wiring and lighting

Homes and businesses usually have various wiring and lighting needs. An electrical contractor should know what type of electrical fixture is needed for certain types of appliances and equipment. An air conditioning unit, for example, requires a heavy duty socket and wire than a lampshade.

* Installation of control systems

A licensed electrical contractor should be capable of installing a reliable control system for equipment to efficiently function. Industries require effective control systems to run their industry processes. Without them, they could incur losses.

* Inspection of transformers and circuit breakers

A transformer regulates the electricity that flows into electrical lines. Power goes through a circuit breaker that automatically turns itself off in case there is an unusual electrical current that could result in fires. An electrical contractor should be knowledgeable in maintaining these two because they are the essential devices that control the inflow of electricity into home appliances and office equipment.

* Identification of electrical problems with the use of devices

A residential electrician is trained to use devices that check electrical issues. Some of these devices are:

Circuit and wire tracers – trace short circuits;

Digital voltmeters – measure the amount of voltage that goes through electrical wires; and,

Continuity testers – a testing equipment that checks if an electrical component is relaying electricity.

* Maintain or repair wiring and fixtures

Wires and fixtures get worn out over time, and it is the electrical contractor’s job to check on these and replace them by using tools such as wire cutters, pliers, etc.

* Adhere to state and local building regulations based on the National Electrical Code

The National Electrical Code outlines the standards in the installation of electrical wirings and equipment. Every electrical contractor should adhere to this to ensure safety.

* Read blueprints or diagrams

A blueprint or diagram is the layout of a home or building’s lighting and power, as well as communication systems. A knowledgeable electrical contractor uses this to trace electrical issues in a house or building.

* Train workers

The electrical contracting industry relies on licensed and expert contractors to train future workers. This is necessary to ensure that knowledge and skills are passed on to the next generation.

* Render excellent customer service

Doing a great job is essential, but an excellent customer service will keep the business going.

7 Tips to Save Money on Electrical Repair

Every time you delay the need to repair electrical problems, you are inviting bigger expense and trouble. Electrical repairs are affordable if done properly and at the right time.

Checking your electrical installations and wiring regularly not only saves you money for repairs but also keeps you, your family and home safe from accidents caused by faulty electrical lines. It also relieves you of stress and gives you peace of mind when you know everything has been properly maintained.

When it comes to complicated repairs, don’t employ do-it-yourself techniques. You are inviting trouble if you do.

It would be wise to trust an electrical contractor near you who is trained and licensed to do these jobs for you.

Common Electrical Repairs

  • The most common problems encountered at home are outlets and switches that do not work. These are the most used items at home so they are the ones that often need attention and replacement. Ignoring the problem would not make them go away. It is also very inconvenient to not be able to use them when you need them.
  • Tripping breakers indicate an electrical problem that needs to be traced. Switching the breaker back on may not be the right solution every time because if it trips again, it only means you are facing a far bigger problem that needs to be fixed right away.
  • Flickering lights are not only annoying. They may mean an exposed wire which is a fire hazard. This is not a difficult issue to solve for any electrical contractor and it would be in your best interest to get it fixed at the soonest possible time.
  • High-wattage appliances that trip your circuit breakers need to be checked for issues. You may need to move your appliance to a different circuit or have an electrical contractor install a new circuit. He would know how to install separate circuits to prevent further problems.

Now that you know these common problems, here are seven (7) tips to remember to save money on electrical repairs:

  1. Maintain a list of electrical problems to save time and money on electrical work, and bundle these projects together. It is cost effective to call an electrical contractor to do small jobs at one time rather than calling one from time to time.

Maintaining a list also keeps you posted on regular maintenance jobs that need to be done. The saying, “Prevention is better than cure” applies to electrical jobs as well. Preventive maintenance also prolongs the life of your electrical system.

  1. Be mindful of how you use electrical cords and power outlets. You may not know it, but you can overload your cords and outlets if you plug in too many appliances or equipment. Learn to distribute them around the house to avoid short circuits or melted receptacles.
  2. Prepare the area where electrical work needs to be done. This may take only a few minutes and would save you a lot of money especially if the electrical contractor charges by the hour. Remove delicate items and make paths accessible for easy and fast movement.
  3. Ask for flat rates or packages. If a contractor charges a low rate per hour, chances are, a dishonest contractor could work slower to earn more.

Note that some repairs also cost less when they are done during the off-season. For example, furnace maintenance is in-demand during fall so you may want to have them done during summer to get the cheapest rate.

  1. Hire a contractor who can do the job quickly and efficiently. A contractor who knows his job well can do the job in an hour, say for $100. One who is still learning the trade may charge a lower rate of $50 per hour, but if it takes him three hours to do the same job, it would cost $50 more.
  2. Choose a local electrical contractor. If you want to hire someone from a location outside your area, you may need to pay more even if they charge a lower rate. They may charge extra for fuel and travel time as compared to someone near you.
  3. Buy needed electrical parts before the electrician arrives. To find out what items you need to buy, give the company a detailed description of the electrical work that needs to be done, or about items that need to be replaced or fixed. Doing this would save both you and the contractor a lot of time and money.

The Columbus Electrical Contractors Association

The Ohio Electrical Contractors Association serves to represent the industry of proud electricians and contractors in the state. Through the association, its members have a venue to voice out their ideas and concern in the electric sector. Thus, improving the industry and promoting best in class practices among the circle of electrical contractors in the state of Ohio.

The Association is strongly committed to supporting its members in addressing their concerns relating to labor, government and the public. The association is affiliated with other electrical contractors group formed by the government and industry colleagues to successfully pursue its interests.

The organization is working on policy building and worker protection and safety. Indeed, championing the causes of the electrical contractors’ industry.