Electricity undoubtedly plays an indispensable part in modern everyday life. Americans vitally rely on electric power for heating, cooling, lighting, entertainment, communication, and transportation. Despite the valuable benefits of electricity to households, it can be hazardous if not properly managed and maintained. According to the US Fire Administration, 24,200 house fires were recorded in 2021 due to electrical malfunctions, claiming 295 fatalities and injuring 900 others. This is why it is very important to hire a professional electrician or a certified local electric company to assess the electrical systems on your property and resolve issues that could potentially lead to life-threatening situations.
Electricians perform a wide array of tasks, including but not limited to wiring installation, repair, replacement, and maintenance; electrical component examination; electrical fault identification; and electrical blueprint review. With hundreds of thousands plying their trade across the US, one can always find a local electrician to handle small jobs and large-scale projects. California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Michigan are among the states with the highest employment levels of electricians.
If you are looking to hire an electrician, this article offers insightful information to help you find the right person to handle your electrical installation, maintenance, and repair needs and ensure the safety of your property.
DIY vs. Hiring a Licensed Electrician
When your home needs electrical work, chances are you have considered doing it yourself or calling a professional electrician to do it for you. Home repairs or improvements that owners can accomplish on their own are referred to as do-it-yourself or DIY. Many residential property owners choose this path for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is to save money. The following section of the article highlights the benefits and drawbacks of DIY electrical work to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of DIY Electrical Work
Some homeowners believe there are advantages to undertaking one’s own electrical work. They go online to look for information and guidance. The most common destination is the video sharing and social media platform YouTube, which is very accessible and can provide easy-to-follow video tutorials.
As already mentioned, the primary reason homeowners choose to conduct their electrical repairs is to avoid shelling out money for high material and labor costs. Purchasing materials yourself can help you save money on the total expense of the repair or installation, as you only spend what you can afford. Materials, specialized tools, or equipment may be expensive for an electrician to purchase.
DIY work also allows you to be hands-on with the upkeep of your property. Additionally, it gives you first-hand information on how the systems in your home work. And if you succeed in accomplishing your DIY work, it provides a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Cons of DIY Electrical Work
DIY home electrical work can be dangerous, especially if you are not trained or knowledgeable about the job's specifications, such as the proper usage of an electrician's tools and the voltage requirement in your home. Unskilled work can also yield poor outcomes or aggravated situations, which may endanger yourself, your family, or your guests. Furthermore, it may cost you more money in the long term. If worst comes to worst, poorly done electrical work can cause property damage, injury, or death. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of house fires in the United States.
A house is a complex network of circuits and wiring. Common errors in DIY work, like turning off the wrong box or connection, can result in electrocution. That is why having a thorough understanding of how to navigate these areas safely is important. Extensive knowledge can only be obtained through years of training and experience, which YouTube videos cannot provide.
Why Hiring a Licensed Electrician Is the Better Option
While it may be true that you can do basic electrical work at home, such as changing the light switch plate, replacing a lightbulb, or installing a new socket cover, DIY is not the way to go for major electrical repairs or rewiring tasks. Hiring a certified and bonded electrician ensures that the work is being done by specialists with the necessary credentials and competencies. Electricians have been trained to correctly inspect and repair issues with your property's electrical system while adhering to industry standards and safety requirements. They can also provide warranties on labor and parts, guaranteeing your protection if something goes wrong as a result of the work they render.
DIY Safety Tips
If you decide to do your home's electrical work yourself to save on the costs of hiring a local electrician, here are some DIY tips you might consider before starting the project:
Make an effort to understand your property’s electrical system beforehand.
Only attempt a maintenance or repair project that is within your degree of expertise.
Be sure that the circuit breaker is turned off.
Test the wires before touching them to make sure that the power has been switched off.
Factors to Consider When Selecting an Electrician for Your Home Needs
According to 2022 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 762,600 electricians in the country's workforce. Alaska, Montana, Oregon, North Dakota, and Wyoming are among the states with the highest demand for electricians. There are certain requirements, which vary by state, that people need to accomplish before they can become electricians. Most states require electricians to be licensed. For more information about the specific requirements in your locality, you should get in touch with your state electrical licensing board.
Educational Background of an Electrician
When hiring a local electrician for your home needs, you must ensure they have attended school to learn the trade. In the US, people who intend to become electricians are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some go to technical schools to study programs related to basic electrical information, safety practices, and circuitry.
Is Your Local Electrician Highly Trained?
Make sure that you are hiring an electrician who is highly trained. You may confirm with the electrician if they have completed an apprenticeship program or undergone advanced and specialized training. Through apprenticeship, electricians can master the ins and outs of their trade. In the US, electricians typically complete a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program wherein they receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and technical instruction, which include electrical code requirements, electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics (trigonometry, algebra, calculus, geometry, and Ohm's Law), and safety and first-aid practices. Additionally, electricians may receive specialized training related to fire alarm systems, communications, soldering, and elevators. Apprenticeship requirements vary by state. Electricians may enter the Home Builders Institute's pre-apprenticeship certificate training program. They will be considered journey workers once they have completed an apprenticeship program and may execute duties on their own, in accordance with local or state licensing requirements.
Licensed, Certified, and Registered
Licensing requirements differ by state. Most jurisdictions require electricians to pass a licensure exam, which covers topics related to the National Electrical Code, state and local electrical codes, safe installation of electrical wiring, and electrical equipment. Some states, like Indiana and Illinois, do not have statewide licensing regulations for electricians. Licenses are instead issued by local municipalities or cities. In Louisiana, on the other hand, electricians do not need a license to work on residential electrical jobs with a project cost below $50,000; however, if they handle a residential project exceeding that amount or any commercial or industrial job, they are required to have a license.
Electricians may also be required to take continuing education courses, which tackle changes and updates to the electrical code, safety practices, and product-specific information from manufacturers, to maintain their licenses. If your electrical work involves lighting, electrical generating, and solar photovoltaic systems, you may confirm with your electrician whether they have obtained additional certifications to validate their competencies in the said areas.
Because electricians must travel to several job sites, they may be required to own a driver's license.
Acquired Advanced Qualifications
You may also consider hiring highly experienced electricians who have worked to advance their qualifications. Journey workers can become master electricians if they have met the required minimum length of experience and passed the master electrician test. Master electrician is the highest level of electrical certification. Advancement in skills means they are fully equipped and possess more competencies to complete a job.
Aside from the technical skills, you may also consider hiring electricians who have physical strength, stamina, and color vision ability, as well as soft skills such as critical thinking and customer service.
How Much Do the Services of an Electrician Cost?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for electricians in May 2022 was $60,240, or $28.96 per hour. However, hourly rates in the country range from $18 to $49.18. Apprentices are paid less than fully trained electricians, but their salary grows as their skills advance. The top-paying states for electricians are Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Washington, Illinois, and Oregon, with hourly mean wages of $42.61, $41.30, $40.96, $40.76, and $39.99, respectively. Meanwhile, the top five paying metropolitan areas for electricians include San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara in California, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward in California, Mount Vernon-Anacortes in Washington, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue in Washington, and Urban Honolulu in Hawaii, with hourly mean wages of $47.71, $46.31, $44.66, $44.45, and $43.15, respectively.
In the US, almost all electricians work full-time, with evening and weekend shifts possible. Electricians working for an electrical company may also render overtime but should be compensated for it under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is equivalent to one and a half of their regular rate.
How much does it cost to rewire a house?
If you observe any of the following in your home, your wiring may need to be examined and redone:
regularly blown circuit breakers or fuses;
lightbulbs constantly burning out in the socket;
frequently fluctuating lights;
sparks from a power source when you disconnect a cord.
The cost of rewiring your home is determined by the age, size, and length of the wire that must be changed. These aspects contribute to the overall labor cost of electricians. Excluding labor, electrical wiring ranges in price from $0.15 to $3.50 per linear foot. For a 2,000-square-foot property that needs rewiring, the homeowner must prepare around a $3,700 to $8,000 budget for both materials and labor costs. There will be additional costs for extra work needed, such as opening walls and running wires, upgrading electrical panels, and installing electrical outlets.
How much does it cost to run a new electrical circuit?
Installing new electrical circuits for major appliances, like kitchen appliances, HVAC systems, and laundry machines, in a residential property typically costs around $250 to $900 for labor and materials. There are instances when the cost could go beyond $1,000, depending on several factors, including the distance between the new circuit and the main panel, the type of circuit breaker used, the difficulty of installation, and whether the new circuit fits within the limits of the main panel.
Are electrical quotes free?
When you hire an electrician, it is a good idea to inquire whether they offer free estimations. Most electrician contractors provide estimates for free for any electrical service, such as installation and replacement work. On the other hand, some electricians do not offer free estimates for open-ended repairs. Estimates are typically discussed over the phone. If an electrician arrives at your home with tools or test kits to investigate the issue before providing a quote, you will be charged the hourly rate because call-outs are not covered by the "free quote" offering.
Do electricians expect tips?
Electricians are paid hourly; therefore, they do not anticipate tips on top of the overall job costs. There are instances where the homeowner wishes to tip the worker for an excellent job. If you want to thank your electrician for the outstanding service they provided, try adding 10% to 15% to the project cost.
Choose the Right Electrician for Your Home Projects
When your home requires rewiring or electrical system repair, avoid hiring electricians who have not proven their credibility and reputation in the field. You must choose the services of qualified electricians who have the necessary licenses and certifications and possess extensive industry experience. By doing so, you can ensure that you save money both in the short and long term. More importantly, you protect your home and your family from the hazards of a malfunctioning electrical system.
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