Electrical work requires expertise to ensure proper performance and safety. In the home services industry, this work involves handling equipment and wires directly related to voltage, circuits and the electromagnetic field. It can include testing, installing and repairing any type of system or appliance with an electrical charge. While it might seem convenient to cut corners and allow just anyone to work on your electrical framework, taking such shortcuts can lead to ineffective and often dangerous outcomes.
Licensed professionals undergo thousands of hours of state-approved training in order to conduct electrical work. Depending on the jurisdiction, attempting to perform unlicensed electrical work is even illegal. Individuals who are not well-versed in the knowledge of electrical panels, wires, surges or currents should never attempt to work with these parts or elements. To remain on the safe side, it is important to ensure that your contractor is correctly prepared. A look at some of the most important reasons for always choosing a licensed individual can help you make an informed choice about obtaining professional help for your electrical issues.
Importance of Safety
Safety is one of the foremost reasons to hire a licensed professional for electrical work. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 1,000 U.S. residents die each year as a result of electrical injuries. Around 400 of these deaths are the result of high-voltage accidents or electrocutions, and this number is far higher than deaths from random strikes of lightning. In addition, the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESF) reports that there are at least 30,000 incidents of electrical shock in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, hiring a licensed technician can promote safety and help reduce the risk associated with hiring an unlicensed amateur.
Professionals encourage safety in two main ways. First, licensed workers typically have received training in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards in repairs and installations. This makes them more likely to use these same safety protocols to protect themselves and others while working in your household environment. Second, all licensed technicians must perform tasks in accordance with the National Electric Code (NEC). This code helps govern everything from the permissibility of exposed wires to the proximity of electrical equipment to water. Such knowledge is paramount to protecting your family. For example, the NIH has found that around 20% of all electrical injuries occur in children, and incidents occur most often among toddlers and adolescents at home. Allowing a professional to complete the work puts safe practices in place to minimize the risk of accidents and hazards.
Training and Experience
Electric work goes far beyond the scope of a small project that an amateur can learn with a few “hacks.” Most states have strict training regulations for technicians who wish to repair or install items involving electricity. In California and many other states, for example, any technician working with electrical connections greater than 100-volt amps must have a license. To put this into perspective, the voltage of a basic home service panel is 200 amps. This is enough to deliver a fatal current to a human being, and the risk is greater to inexperienced individuals who may be unable to recognize warning signs before it is too late. Even if an amateur worker follows all of the recommended at-home safety precautions, training in electrical work offers the best preparation for high-risk scenarios.
Preparation for work in this field can include completing an apprenticeship or trainee program and then passing an industry exam. According to the Labor Commissioner’s Office at the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), this process can also include completing a minimum of 8,000 hours of work under the supervision of a licensed company. Depending on the company, many technicians undergo ongoing education to receive special certifications. These certifications can allow technicians to work with special processes, materials or machinery as they conduct installations or repairs within your home. As more households adopt advanced technologies, such as smart lighting or smart heaters, it is important to hire individuals with continuous education to safely upgrade these connections within your home.
Quality of Workmanship
Licensed technicians have the resources and experience needed for high-quality workmanship. Primarily, these technicians have the latest industry tools necessary to complete successful installations or repairs. For example, an electrical technician or home services company is far more likely to carry tools, like a continuity tester or resistor lamp. The average person or amateur handyman is unlikely to have the most up-to-date machines and instruments necessary to finish the job. In addition, licensed individuals have the craftsmanship needed to understand the nuances of electrical connections. For example, home circuits often involve security systems, fire alarms and communication devices in addition to standard lighting and appliances. Licensed contractors understand the interplay of all these elements to complete the task the right way the first time.
Significance of Insurance
Most states require licensed contractors to obtain liability insurance when performing any electrical work. If you attempt to hire an unlicensed electrician, the liability for any accident or mishap incurred on the job could fall squarely on your shoulders. This can result in thousands of dollars in litigation and legal fees. Some homeowners have even experienced lawsuits from guests or visitors injured as the result of shoddy electrical work. In addition, some warranties and home insurance policies will not cover homeowners who knowingly hire unlicensed or uninsured contractors. Spare yourself the headache and always work with a licensed technician instead. The risk simply is not worth the reward when it comes to peace of mind with electrical work.
Permits and Accountability
Did you know that there are often special regulations surrounding electrical work? For example, many localities or jurisdictions have zoning laws regarding home electrical extensions or current limits for appliances added to the power grid. Homeowners who are undertaking a serious renovation or rewiring may also need permits from the city or county. Some municipalities even have rules for the size and location of your home’s standby electric generator. While the consideration of these rules and laws can be enough to induce a headache, you should not ignore them. Failure to comply or receive the proper approval can lead to serious fines, taxes, injuries or other legal problems.
Fortunately, licensed technicians are already well-versed in the laws and requirements for your area. These technicians can provide information about local permits and may also complete inspections to ensure that you comply with the rules. In addition to knowledge about permits, licensed technicians are also accountable to governing bodies that go beyond your local neighborhood or street. Each state has an electrical division that establishes guidelines for any home services company that performs electrical work. The purpose of these guidelines is to enact statewide standards for all people performing electrical installations, upgrades and repairs. This ensures that the quality of work remains high, consistent and fair. If an issue arises, a licensed technician can easily help you work the state division for an outcome that supports the household. Because state divisions establish standard proceedings and precedents, working with a licensed technician protects you from any potential fraud or misconduct that you may encounter with an unlicensed worker.
Contact Us Today
When it comes to electrical issues, there is no substitute for expert care. Huft Home Services offers electrical maintenance solutions for households in Sacramento, CA, and surrounding areas. We offer electrical panel upgrades, and we help with electrical wiring and surge protection for homes. Our technicians can also install or repair whole-home generators or install whole-home fans. We are your top experts for troubleshooting outlets or switches as well as fixing any issues with indoor and outdoor lighting. Contact Huft Home Services for any of your residential electrical needs.