Tips On How to Find A Great Electrician For Electrical Repair Services
At some point, all homeowners, property managers, and business owners will have electrical work that needs to be done. Electricity powers computers, chargers, lights, air conditioners, home appliances, pool systems, and industrial and commercial equipment. Work on them requires a good electrician.
These professionals make repairs, conduct routine safety checks, install new equipment, and complete important inspections. But how do you know when you need the services of an electrician? And how do you find a reputable one?
Keep reading for those answers. We’ll cover typical electrical contractor services first, then go on to discuss steps you can take to locate a trustworthy service provider.
Part One: Electrical Services
Annual inspections of all your electrical equipment should be a priority. An inspection allows a licensed electrician to check out all your electrical components and confirm that they’re working as they should. A good inspector will be able to locate and identify failing parts, worn out or damaged wiring, or working components that will need to be replaced soon.
Regular inspections now save on big-ticket repairs down the road. Fixing a problem early often prevents additional damage and can avoid an electrical fire that could devastate an entire building.
For a building to be safe, its wiring must be in good condition. Any of the problems below could be indicators of an overloaded or worn-out electrical system:
- Breakers frequently tripping
- Outlets spark when a plug is inserted
- Outlets give a shock when a plug is inserted
- Lights are dim or flickering
- Sizzling sounds come from lightbulbs or outlets
- Hot plugs, cords, or switchplates
If one—or especially several—of these things are happening in your home or building, get the electrical system inspected and assessed soon.
Plan to buy or sell an aging house or building? If it’s over 40 years old, the wiring should be checked; depending on its condition, it might require whole-house rewiring.
Electrical Panel Upgrades
Power enters a house or building and is distributed through the electrical panel. As technology advances and more and more devices require large amounts of electricity, older electrical panels struggle to keep up. Panels more than 25 years old should be checked regularly, and may need to be upgraded if any of these apply:
- The inside is warm to the touch
- It emits an audible crackling sound
- Circuit breakers have corrosion or rust
- Appliances are running slowly
Sometimes, upgrading will require moving the entire electrical panel. More likely, services will include bus bar replacement, electrical panel rewiring, and replacing the circuit breakers.
GFCI Outlet Installation
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI, is a type of outlet that reduces the risk of electrical shock by automatically stopping the current flow if it detects a flow imbalance. It usually has a test button and a reset button to restart an interrupted current. GFCI outlets are most often installed in garages, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Surge protection is a crucial, yet often overlooked, safeguard for any home or business. When a power surge occurs, voltage jumps suddenly. This abrupt jolt overheats, burns, and destroys the wiring inside devices and appliances.
Most homeowners and business owners have some sort of surge protector for at least a few of their devices, but they are often low-cost and low-quality. They may protect from small power surges, but the best protection comes from a whole house surge protector that can be installed by a licensed electrician.
Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Your electrician can install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors. Schedule annual inspections to ensure they stay in good working condition.
Ceiling Fan and Light Fixture Installation
Lighting work should always be left to a professional. Licensed electricians are knowledgeable and experienced in installing or replacing indoor and outdoor fixtures like paddle fans, sconces, chandeliers, recessed lights, and ceiling-mounted lights. When lighting fixtures needs work, call an electrician.
Most outdoor residential lighting is for landscape, pool, or deck lighting. Landscape lighting can increase a home’s property value, enhance the aesthetics, and provide extra security. Exterior commercial lighting is usually for security purposes or to illuminate signs and advertisements.
All electrical repairs or wiring problems should be done by a licensed and experienced tradesperson. Electricians are trained to do jobs efficiently and safely.
Emergency Electrical Services
After-hours, emergency services are provided by most electrical companies.
Part Two: How to Find a Trustworthy Electrical Contractor
Now you know what electrical services you can expect the average electrical company to offer. The next step is locating a reliable company. That’s what we’ll tackle now. Following are suggestions for finding a contractor that you will be comfortable with and who will do the job well.
Word of Mouth
Finding a dependable electrician can be as easy as asking friends and neighbors for their recommendations. People are usually eager to share both positive and negatives experiences and may be willing to share what they paid for each service.
Ask for recommendations from local people whose expectations and standards are similar to yours to get the best idea of the services provided.
Use your favorite browser to search for “electrician in <your city>” or “electrician near me.” A list of providers will be generated with their phone numbers and websites.
Ratings and Reviews
In your online research, remember that the first electrician listed on the page isn’t necessarily the best one. Find a couple of companies that give a good first impression, then do a bit of detective work. Find customer reviews of the company’s prices, services, and customer service. Google reviews are often helpful because individual service providers can’t tamper with them.
Get on Facebook to check out the local business review group for feedback on specific companies. Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and other similar sites usually have helpful information.
Peruse Company Websites
A company’s website reveals much about its business priorities. Is there a banner bragging about its competitive rates? Or a chat box in the corner with a real person available to answer questions? These things will give you a feel for the company and what it values.
Find the About Us page to gather more information about the management, history, whether the company is a franchise, and other pertinent data.
What to Ask Prospective Hires
After you have collected initial information, received a few solid recommendations, and looked at company websites, create a shortlist of your three top candidates. Give each company a call and let the representative know what kind of work you need to have done.
This is the right time to collect additional information that didn’t appear on the company website. Ask questions like these:
- Are all employees drug tested and background checked?
- Do all electricians wear identification and a company uniform?
- Are employees Master Electricians?
- If not, will they be supervised by a Master Electrician?
If the representative gives you satisfactory answers, schedule an appointment for an estimate.
If it’s a big project, consider scheduling estimates with all three service providers to get multiple price quotes and time frames for completion.
The Estimate Visit
When the electrician arrives for the estimate visit, he or she will assess the work you need to have completed and provide you with a written cost estimate. The electrician can also answer any remaining questions you may have.
This will be your first in-person interaction with a representative of the electric company, so pay attention to the details.
When the employee arrives, verify company credentials. Confirm that he or she came in a company vehicle, is in proper uniform, and has a badge or other form of company identification.
For smaller jobs, you can expect to receive a written estimate on the spot. For more extensive projects, like a whole house rewiring, the electrician will likely need to plug in the numbers back at the office and get back to you with the final quote.
This quote should break down the final cost, giving you the price for each part of the project, parts and labor, and taxes.
The First Job
Up to this point, everything you know about the company has been from research or recommendations, but once the job is underway, the real quality of the company will become evident.
Hopefully, everything goes even better than you expect—the technician arrives on time, completes the work to your satisfaction, and charges you accordingly. If so, you will have an electrician to call next time you need servicing on your home or business.
After the work is complete, consider your experience with the company from first contact through final payment.
- Did the company communicate quickly, thoroughly, and professionally?
- Was scheduling the estimate and service appointment fast and straight-forward?
- Was the electrician timely, capable, and professional?
- Were you charged a fair price for the work?
- Was the work completed properly the first time?
All electrical work should be left for a licensed and insured electrician. This is not the type of project to attempt on your own to try to save a few dollars. Services provided by electricians include inspections, rewiring, panel upgrades, and more.
Do the research now to locate an affordable, reliable, and trustworthy electrician so that when you need electrical work done, you’ll have the number at hand.