It’s not wise to cut corners on electrical work. Hire an electrician who is qualified and experienced with the type of work that you need done.
Find an Electrician
Faulty wiring is a fire hazard. Wiring may seem simple, but it’s a wide interdependent network. Poorly designed circuits deliver the wrong amperage and can damage electronic gear and appliance motors. Partially overloaded circuits can cause lights to flicker when an appliance is in use, or even blow a fuse. Avoid these problems by hiring a qualified electrician.
An experienced electrician is easier to find than the right plumber or painter. A master electrician has passed a standardized exam and will his Read Seal. A journeyman is also licenced.
There’s another safety factor at play. A permit issued by your local building department is required for most electrical work. The building inspector must ensure it’s up to code before signing off on the work.
Pick the Right Professional
Electricians typically specialize. Some focus on commercial work, new construction, or only go on service calls. Electricians who specialize in remodeling are masters at wiring homes and additions. If your general contractor doesn’t have an electrician to recommend, check with your local home-builders’ association or your local electrical-supply house.
Ask to see a copy of his licence and proof of insurance when interviewing an electrician. They should carry at least $500,000 in workers’ compensation coverage and liability insurance. Be sure to check his previous jobs and references.
Check the Work Quality
It takes an experienced eye to spot electrical mistakes, but you can judge the quality of work on neatness. Typically, if it’s not neat it’s not probably not safe. The plastic-sheathed flat, white cables (Romex) should run to the service panel in an orderly way. If they are jumbled, crossed, or dropped, the electrician is not doing a safe job.
Plates on outlets and switches should be square and plumb to the wall. If not, the utility box hasn’t been set squarely against the studs.
An electrician who is detail oriented is worth the cost. Expect to pay at least $30/hour for a master electrician and at least $55/ hour for a master/journeyman team.
Working with an Electrician
Electricians work from plans created by the designer or architect for large renovations. The plans outline where the outlets, label fixture types, and switches go. You’ll need to supply the electrician with information about the light fixtures you’ve chosen. Find out when they’ll need the fixtures, then shop around. Make a list of your choices with the model number, manufacturer name, and where you found them. The electrician can purchase them for you. They’ll assume responsibility for breakage, warranty issues, missing parts, and defective products.
Keep a running total of costs and aim to stay within your budget. If you go over, the contractor will bill you. If you’re under, the money will be credited back to you. Be sure to consider the cost of specialty light bulbs and unforeseen circumstances.
Be sure to take your time through this process, and you’ll see fantastic results with your electrical remodeling.