It’s natural to assume that when we walk into a room and flip a switch, the light will instantly illuminate. But what do you do when your lights don’t come on? Most of us would call an electrician, and finding a qualified electrician is important for any electrical job; ranging from the smallest installation of a new light fixture to the complete rewiring of a house.
Working with electricity can be very dangerous and you want to make sure your electrician is experienced and certified for your own safety and the protection of your family. Faulty wiring poses several hazards, especially a potential fire.
Like many other contractors, electricians specialize in a specific field. Some do construction sites, others go out only on service calls and some focus on commercial property work. Electricians who concentrate in remodeling have mastered techniques for wiring existing homes and additions, such as snaking wires through finished walls, assessing the capacity of existing circuits and evaluating whether to install an additional service panel (where the circuit breakers are located) to handle increased power demands.
Although you can assume a certain level of competency when an electrician shows you his/ her state license, there are two levels of proficiency to consider. A master electrician has passed a standardized test and has at least two years of experience. This type of electrician is knowledgeable of the National Electrical Code and its modifications. Areas of expertise lie in planning, designing, installing and maintaining an electrical system for a project. A journeyman electrician is one who has not qualified for a master’s license, but is licensed by the state, and by law cannot design systems but can install wiring and equipment. Some states, including Alabama, require journeymen electricians to work with a master electrician.
For recommended electricians, you can check with your local homebuilders’ association or call (800) 745-4222 or an electrical-supply business in the area. And when you do decide on an electrician, be sure to see a copy of his/her state license and proof of insurance, making sure both are current. In addition, check references concerning previous jobs.
Identifying a qualified electrician to address your specific electrical needs may be difficult, but in the end it is worth the effort – having peace of mind that your family and home are safe.