5 Reasons to Hire a Licensed Electrician

When it comes to DIY projects for your home or business, electrical work should always be left to a licensed electrician. In fact, as a general rule, any work that could cause floods, fires or explosions within the home should be left to experts. It can be tempting to try to save money on electrical work by doing it yourself. After all, there are big box hardware stores conveniently filled with all of the necessary components and lots of online tutorials from DIY handymen sharing tips and tricks.

However, convenience and accessibility do not make home electrical projects safer to perform or safe for you and your family in the long-term. If you’ve been debating whether or not to complete your upcoming electrical project on your own, we’ve got five reasons why you should really consider hiring a professional electrician instead.

1. Safety Is Your Top Priority

If safety is a top priority for you, then hiring a licensed electrician is an absolute must. The Electrical Safety Foundation states that home electrical fires are responsible for nearly $1.3 billion in damage each year. These fires impact an estimated 51,000 homes. Property damage is not the only effect of an electrical fire. Loss of life or injury can also occur. notes that, “Electrical fires can be a silent killer occurring in areas of the home that are hidden from view and early detection.”

While certain projects like replacing a light switch or outlet may seem simple, there are multiple opportunities for electrical laymen to make errors. For example, if a DIYer does not properly connect and protect two wires, they could create an arcing fault. The current stops traveling on its intended path and grows incredibly hot in its new trajectory. This heat can cause fires when it comes into contact with materials hidden behind the walls of your home.

An electrician licensed by their state electrical board has thousands of hours of training. They must prove their capability in properly installing electrical infrastructure in a residential or commercial building. They have the necessary tools to safely install outlets, wiring, circuits and other electrical components. Because a professional electrician is licensed and insured, you have additional liability protections in the unlikely event that there is an issue.

2. You Also Like Saving Money

One of the barriers many customers face when hiring a licensed electrician is the perception that the expense will be too high. However, the long-term impact of bad electrical work can be far more expensive than a professional service call. For example, you may be avoiding calling the electrician for that overloaded circuit in the kitchen. However, you may end up having to replace your refrigerator, stove or other expensive appliances if that circuit finally fizzles out for good.

save-money-hire-licensed-electricianBeyond blown light bulbs or malfunctioning appliances, a licensed electrician will help you prevent the most expensive accident of all: an electrical fire. It may seem budget-savvy to try to perform your own wiring. However, it can cost you big if DIY electrical work causes an electrical fire. In some cases, fires caused by unpermitted work can even tie up your homeowner’s insurance claims or worse – deny the claim altogether.

Other scenarios where DIY work can cost you more in the long-term include delaying the sale of your home or business. With limited exceptions, real estate transactions involving loans require a property inspection that includes a general examination of your electrical system.

You are required to answer truthfully if your inspector asks questions about specific electrical work they deem concerning. Work performed without permits or code requirements may require you to hire a professional electrician to re-do the work. Dishonest sellers can end up in trouble if the new homeowner has problems they can prove are caused by un-permitted work.

3. You Want a Professional Electrician’s Opinion

Do you have a light that flickers for no good reason? Does your bathroom outlet flip the breaker switch every time you run your blow dryer? Could you confidently diagnose the cause beyond a shadow of a doubt and make repairs? Some electrical problems are pretty easy to figure out on your own. When it comes to those pesky flickering lights, it may be as simple as a loose bulb or a wobbly ceiling fan.

However, blown circuit breakers and flickering lights can also be a sign of more serious electrical issues. For example, that flipping breaker may be a sign that your system is overloaded or there is a problem with your electrical panel. You could have loose wires behind the outlet or above your light socket causing your lights to flicker on and off.

Any number of these problems can cost you a lot of money if not diagnosed properly. Even worse, they can start a fire in your home. In short, electrical problems are not something to resolve with your best guess.

The best way to diagnose these issues is to hire a professional electrician to inspect your electrical system. Journeyman electrician licensing requires the electrician to have 8,000 hours of experience. They must also complete hundreds of hours of classroom time. A master electrician license requires that the holder has even more time under their belt – an additional 2,000 hours of experience. There are stringent requirements for demonstrating on-the-job experience in complex work to become an electrician with master-level certification. Even an apprentice electrician license requires thousands of hours of training. These professionals are capable of helping you determine the issue and resolving it safely.

4. You Want Your Electrical System to Be Legal and Compliant with All Codes

Whether you are a resident or business owner, you always want your electrical services to be in compliance with all local, state and national codes. Licensed electricians perform work in accordance with the National Electric Code (NEC). Per the National Fire Protection Association, the NEC: “Sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial, and industrial occupancies around the world. It is consistently reviewed and updated, with input from active professionals in the field, to stay ahead of the constant changes in technology and safety.”

Some of the most common code violations committed by DIY electrical installations include:

  • Incorrect circuit breakers
  • Nonexistent circuit breakers
  • Lack of AFCIs in required areas of the home
  • Failing to use a neutral wire with all switches
  • Failure to cover outdoor outlets
  • Using the wrong cover on an outdoor outlet
  • Not enough outlets
  • Poor or nonexistent grounding
  • Poor or nonexistent bonding
  • Lack of tamper-resistant outlets
  • Old wiring with new electronics or appliances
  • Overcrowded outlets
  • Illegal splicing

If you recognize any of these issues in your home or business, you may be in violation of the NEC. You may also be in violation of city or regional codes. While these codes can seem tedious and frustrating, they are developed to preserve life and property. Electrical codes also protect entire communities from the dangers of a house fire jumping to other properties. With rising fire danger across the United States, these types of protections are vital to community safety.

Licensed commercial and residential electricians are well-versed in safety codes and stay up to date on how codes may change each year. It is their responsibility to perform all work in accordance with each code when they receive their electrician certification. They are required to obtain permits for all work performed. They must complete projects with the expectation that it will be checked by city or county inspectors.

5. You Want Peace of Mind That Electrical Work Is Done Right

The final reason to hire a licensed electrician is to give yourself peace of mind for years to come. A licensed electrical contractor has a vested interest in performing the work right the first time. It’s not just about protecting their reputation and preserving their business. Professional electricians also want to do everything possible to protect you and your family from harm.

When your electrical work is completed by a licensed electrician, there is no wondering if you have properly connected two wires. There is no concern that the YouTube tutorial you followed is accurate. There is no concern that you purchased the wrong circuit breaker or installed an outlet that cannot manage the electronics or appliances that you plug into it.

It takes thousands of hours to become a licensed electrician. When you hire a professional, you are buying that extensive experience. You are also paying for the peace of mind that the work hidden behind the walls of your home or business will safely serve your family for years to come.

A Few Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Electrician

  • Licensed
  • Bonded
  • Insured
  • Accessible license via electrician license lookup/search
  • Look for a master electrician who oversees all work
  • Choose a local electrician with a good reputation
  • In good standing with the regional building authorities
  • In good standing with the Better Business Bureau
  • Compliant with electrician license renewal requirements

If you are planning an upcoming electrical project, don’t do it on your own. Consult an experienced electrician so you can get the work done safely, save money, stay compliant and get the peace of mind you deserve.

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