Like water and air, electricity has become a basic need. People now depend on it for just about everything from charging mobile phones, enjoying home entertainment to powering landscape lighting.
However, under certain circumstances, electricity can be dangerous. In fact, it’s responsible for 50,000 cases of fire every year. These fires have resulted in deaths, injuries, and property damage.
Don’t get us wrong. Electricity is generally safe, and you have to play your role by ensuring all electrical systems in your home are working correctly. So, in the event of an electrical problem, it’s best to call in a reliable electrician.
But, what exactly should you consider when hiring an electrician? This post is going to cover the essential things you should look at before hiring one.
Keep on reading!
1. Pay Attention to Online Ratings
One thing the internet does greatly is business rating. You can get recommendations from friends and neighbors, but take a serious note of the online ratings an electrician has.
Online feedback, reviews, and ratings offer an ideal way to establish the reliability and professionalism of a company. They allow you to separate maestros from illegitimate technicians.
Ideally, a company that has a consistent rating of 4 stars and above out of the possible five is great. But you should also look at the number of users that have rated them.
An electrician with a handful of reviews and a rating of 4 or higher may not be a good choice.
Read through the reviews to know other clients’ views and determine how the company responds to negative feedback.
2. Check Qualifications
Just because an electrician is armed with all the necessary tools doesn’t mean they can ace the job.
The good thing is that the electrical industry is highly regulated to ensure all installations and repairs meet the NFPA 70 codes. As such, electricians are expected to complete different training programs and earn certifications to demonstrate that they understand all the applicable standards.
An electrician with a master qualification means they have at least two years of experience and passed the standardized tests. It also demonstrates that they know the National Electrical Code and all the state-specific modifications.
Such an electrician is qualified to design repair, install, and maintain electrical systems. Master electricians are needed for planning and developing systems.
For simple projects, such as installing equipment and wiring, a journeyman electrician can get the job done.
3. Check License and Permits
When hiring an electrician to undertake extensive projects, such as a significant amount of rewiring or replacing the central electrical equipment, they must produce a permit.
Usually, contractors include the cost of the permit in the overall bill. The permit shows that the contractor is allowed to carry out the specified project. The issuance of the permit means there will be an inspection to ensure the project meets the code.
Some states require electricians to hold a license while others like Indiana and Illinois don’t. If your state does, be sure to request your electrician’s license.
4. Find Out Who Will Be Doing the Work
When looking for an electrician, it’s possible to talk to a qualified technician, but someone else is sent to do the job.
You want to make sure that the electrician does the job themselves. They shouldn’t employ apprentices, helpers or subcontractors to work on your repairs or installation.
Or, in case apprentices or helpers work on your project, ensure a licensed electrician is at the scene to supervise the whole process. If the company hires subcontractors, make sure their insurance plan covers you, too.
5. Check References
The electrician must provide verifiable references for their past work. This will guarantee that they can provide the kind of quality you expect. References show that the electrician can work on the project safely and ensure the client’s satisfaction.
They should also be reliable and dependable. The last thing you want is to have a contractor that turns up for the work late after assigning it to them. If it’s possible, talk to some of their past clients to learn about their experiences.
Good electricians will also offer safety tips you can use to keep your home and family safe. For example, this website shares more about power surges, troubleshooting heaters, replacing circuit breakers and more.
6. Compare Costs
Electricians generally charge $50 to $100 per hour for service calls, diagnosis, and other services. A typical electrical project can cost you about $160 to $500. The hourly and project rates depend on the type of the project, the electrician’s experience, and the license.
You should get several bids for your projects before choosing one. They should provide written estimates. Comprehensive and itemized estimates will allow you to know exactly what you’re being billed for and the overall project cost.
While saving on the project’s cost is advisable, you shouldn’t go for cheaper services that are likely to offer poor services. The overall cost shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor. Professional electricians will offer quotes they believe are enough to get the job done correctly and to code.
Hiring an Electrician – Final Thoughts
When considering any electrical work in your home, keep in mind that you loved ones use those electrical systems. As such, it’s your responsibility to ensure they are installed and working correctly.
You need to know that malfunctioning electric systems can increase your bill. Also, you’re likely to experience different problems, such as power surges, circuit overload, tripping, sags and dips, malfunctioning switches, and electrical shocks. Hiring an electrician is the best call for fixing these problems in your home.
If you have any thoughts about working with an electrician, be sure to share them with us in the comments. Or, you can also read this guide to hiring a professional for electric services to help you in making the right decisions.