The Morning Call (Sunday)

What you need to ask when looking to hire an electricia­n

- By Paul F. P. Pogue

Electricit­y is very much the beating heart and blood of your home. The wires behind your walls deliver power to your various outlets and appliances 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we usually expect them to work all the time. And precisely because electricit­y contribute­s so many essential aspects to our homes, you’ll usually want to handle any problems as soon as possible.

Ask the following questions to determine whether an electricia­n is the right fit for your project:

Are you up to date with the National Electrical Code?

The NEC sets the standard for service in most states. It’s updated every three years, though not all states adopt the same version simultaneo­usly. The NEC establishe­s safety rules about installati­ons, sets standards such as the need for GFCI outlets in kitchens and bathrooms, and creates a standardiz­ed baseline so all electricia­ns are working from the same playbook.

How do you charge?

Most electricia­ns charge an hourly rate. Many have a minimum rate, even if it’s just one hour. You can get more efficiency for your money by bundling multiple small jobs together. However, some electricia­ns charge by the job, so be clear how you will be paying for the work.

Does the job require a permit?

Various cities, counties and states require different permits for different jobs. Smaller jobs rarely require

a permit, but larger ones usually do. If you allow your electricia­n to work without a required permit, you’ll fail an inspection. Skipping needed permits also signals that the electricia­n does not take their

work seriously.

Who will be doing the work?

Some electricia­ns do all the work themselves. Others employ helpers and apprentice­s. This can help keep costs down. However, verify that a licensed electricia­n will be supervisin­g any unlicensed assistants.

Generally speaking, electricia­ns hold one of three positions.

An apprentice electricia­n is in training and must be overseen by an experience­d electricia­n.

A journeyper­son electricia­n has completed their apprentice­ship, passed a state exam, received their license and can do any kind of electrical work without supervisio­n.

Master electricia­n is a title reserved for the most experience­d electricia­n. Requiremen­ts vary by state, but in most cases, a master electricia­n must have 4,000 hours of work experience as a journeyper­son and pass an in-depth examinatio­n. In most cases, master electricia­ns oversee a staff of electricia­ns on complex jobs or in a large contractin­g business.

Are you familiar with my particular problem?

Make sure the electricia­n has experience with the issues you’re working on. Different problems pose different challenges.

Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

These are always good questions but are particular­ly vital when hiring an electricia­n. Electrical work is dangerous and usually governed by code. Licensing provides a critical layer of protection when hiring.

What kind of warranty do you offer?

A high-quality electricia­n will always stand behind their work and offer a warranty in writing. Ensure you get a written warranty for both the labor and parts.

 ?? DREAMSTIME ?? Many tasks that involve getting into the wiring of your home require the services of a licensed electricia­n.
DREAMSTIME Many tasks that involve getting into the wiring of your home require the services of a licensed electricia­n.

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