About Electrical Services and How to Find a Good Electrician
If you’re a homeowner, business owner, or property manager, at some point you will need the services of an electrician. Electricity powers lights, home appliances, air conditioners, pool systems, computers, chargers, medical equipment, commercial and industrial equipment, and more.
Electricians are needed for new installations, repairs, safety checks, and inspections. Do you know the indications that you need an electrician? Do you know how to find an electrician?
This article will help you with the answers to both questions. The first part of the article covers common electrical contractor services. The second part of the article discusses how to go about finding a reliable service provider.
Part One: Electrician Services
An annual electrical home safety inspection by a licensed electrician ensures that all a home’s electrical components are in safe working order. An inspection will show up any parts that are failing, wiring that is wearing out or has been damaged, or parts that are vulnerable to failure due to age or exposure.
A home electrical inspection can save on expensive repairs when problem areas are identified early and fixed. An inspection can also prevent issues that could lead to electrical fires.
Robust and healthy wiring is very important in a home, office, or building. If you see these signs, you may have a worn-out or overloaded system that needs to be rewired.
- Lights flicker or dim
- Switchplates, cords, or plugs are hot
- An outlet or a lightbulb produces a buzz or a sizzling sound
- Plugging in a cord generates a shock
- Breakers trip frequently
- Sparks come from an outlet when a cord is plugged in
These are a few indicators that all is not right with at least one area of the electrical system.
A house or a building that is over 40 years old should have its wiring checked, especially before a person purchases it. It may need whole-house rewiring.
Electrical Panel Upgrades
The electrical panel in a home or building is the place where power from the outside comes into the structure and is distributed. Electrical panels sometimes need upgrading as buildings get older and experience increased electrical draws on their systems. The average home or building today has many appliances, gadgets, and devices that require power.
Electrical panels that are 25-40 years old should be inspected regularly. Your panel may need an upgrade if the inside of the panel feels warm; if crackling sounds are coming from the panel; if circuit breakers are corroded or rusty; or appliances are no longer running at full power.
Electrical panel upgrade services may include replacement of the circuit breakers, bus bar replacement, and electrical panel rewiring. In some situations, an upgrade may also entail relocating the whole panel.
GFCI Outlet Installation
GFCI stands for “Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.” This kind of outlet mitigates the risk of electrical shock. GFCI outlets are usually found in kitchens, bathrooms and garages and often have current flow test and reset buttons. GFCI outlets stop current flow automatically when an imbalance in the flow is detected. The reset button allows for the flow to be restarted.
Power surges are sudden increases in voltage that cause the wiring inside of appliances and devices to overheat and burn. A power surge can destroy wiring.
Many home and business owners rely on low-cost surge protectors to keep their appliances and devices safe. While these may provide some protection, a whole house surge protector is the option that offers maximum protection. A licensed electrician will provide this type of installation service.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Electricians install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Call an electrician to check these detectors annually.
Light Fixture and Ceiling Fan Installation
All indoor and outdoor lighting installation should be done by a licensed electrician. These professionals install recessed lights, ceiling mounted lights, chandeliers, sconces, bathroom lights, and paddle fans. When lights have deteriorated with age and need replacing, an electrician is the tradesperson to call.
Outdoor residential lighting most often falls into the categories of landscape lighting, deck, and pool lighting. Outdoor commercial lighting includes security and parking lot lighting and illuminated signage.
Landscape lighting provides aesthetic enhancement as well as security and safety. It can add to a property’s value as well.
An electrical contractor or electrician is the tradesperson to call with any wiring issues or electrical repairs that need to be done.
Emergency Electrical Services
Most electrical companies provide emergency, off-hours services.
Part Two: How to Find a Reliable Electrical Contractor
When you need a good and reliable electrician, how do you find one? In this second part of the article, we give you suggestions for identifying an electrical contractor that will do a good job and that you’ll feel comfortable having in your home.
Word of Mouth
Getting a personal recommendation from someone you trust is often the best way to find a great electrician. There are a few parameters to keep in mind. Ask people who live in your area for referrals for local electricians. Ask people with standards and expectations that are similar to your own.
Also ask for the names of contractors that you should avoid.
Run a search online. Type in “electrician near me” or “electrician ” and see what comes up.
Reviews and Ratings
Just because a service provider comes up at the top of page one of Google doesn’t mean it’s the best. Do a little digging to look at the company’s ratings and reviews. Google reviews cannot be doctored by the service provider, so these reviews are usually helpful.
Also, check review sites and watchdog sites such as Yelp or the Better Business Bureau.
Get onto your local Facebook business review group and ask for peoples’ experiences with specific companies. Facebook groups can also be a place to get recommendations.
Check Out Company Websites
Once you have a few recommendations, visit each company’s website. Look at the company’s list of services, its service area, and its history. The About Us page can often tell you if it’s a mom and pop business, if it’s part of a franchise, how long it has been in operation, etc.
Questions to Ask Prospective Hires
Once you have gathered recommendations, looked at reviews and ratings, and visited each company’s website, make a shortlist of three electrician companies and get a representative on the phone. Tell the representative what you need to have done in your home or building.
Also, ask the representative for information that you may not see on the website.
- Are all electricians background checked and drug tested?
- Does everyone on the job wear a uniform and identification?
- Will a Master Electrician do the work?
- If an apprentice does the work, will he or she be closely supervised by a Master Electrician?
When you’re comfortable with the answers, schedule an estimate visit.
If the project is a sizeable one, consider having three different companies come out so you can get three price quotes.
The Estimate Visit
During this visit, an electrician will visit your home or business to see the scope of work and provide you with a written estimate as to how much the work will cost.
This is your first face-to-face introduction with a representative of the company, so be observant. When the person arrives and comes to your door, only let them in when you’ve verified their identity by looking at their marked company vehicle, uniform, and badge or other company photo identification.
Ask the rep the same questions you asked the phone representative.
You may get a written estimate on the spot, but if the job is extensive—a whole-house rewiring, for example—you may have to wait 24 hours for the technician to go back to the office, put in the numbers, and produce a detailed quote.
After you have three estimates, select the electrical contractor with the best price for the best service.
The First Job
Performance on the first job is the real litmus test of a company’s work. Hopefully, the electrician will deliver excellent service, do the job well, and charge you fairly. Ideally, you can consider this service provider your go-to electrician for the rest of the years you are in the house or building.
As you evaluate the electrician and the company, think about the quality of your experience from beginning to end.
- How was communication? Easy, responsive, and thorough?
- How was the lead time for scheduling the job? Rapid and uncomplicated?
- How was the electrician? On time, professional, competent?
- How was the pricing? Fair and competitive?
- How was the quality of work? Properly done the first time?
The answers to these questions will determine if this will be your go-to electrician or if you try a different company next time.
Electrical work on a home or business should always be done by a licensed and insured professional electrician. It should never be done by an amateur as a do-it-yourself weekend project.
Electrical contractors provide a wide range of services, some of which are well-known and others that are not so well known. Electricians are needed for all kinds of installations as well as repairs, rewiring, and wiring upgrades.
Find a dependable, affordable, honest electrician company and add it to your list of core service providers.
Abacus Houston Electricians Service The Following Locations