What Electrical Contractors Can Do for Your Home

Whether you're building a new house or need a total rewiring of your home, you'll need the help of an experienced team of electrical contractors. Hiring a licensed electrician might be the first thought that comes to mind, but it's best to hire an electrical contractor for the bigger jobs you have around your residence. Therefore, read up on companies in your area and contact a few to obtain some quotes before settling on one.

The following is a look at the kind of work electrical contractors do, what they can accomplish for your home and how to find the best one for your needs:

Electrical contractors install all different types of wiring from electrical to fiber optic.If you need the help of multiple electricians, contact an electrical contractor.

What is an Electrical Contractor?

It's easy to get an electrician and an electrical contractor confused. An electrician is a professional tradesperson versed in laying conduit and other wires to bring electricity into a home or commercial building. After receiving their license and becoming a master electrician, many electricians set out on their own and work independently. On the other hand, an electrical contractor is a business that employs a group of electricians to not only work on, but also design and install wiring systems in houses and commercial buildings. Contractors and their electrical workers undertake bigger jobs that call for numerous professionals.

What Electrical Contractors Can Do for You

As a homeowner, you might be tempted to undertake some projects yourself, such as rewiring an old lamp or fixing a blown fuse. While you can certainly complete these tasks on your own, you should consult a licensed electrical contractor for more complex jobs. A professional knows how to correctly install and fix complicated wiring without hurting himself or herself or damaging your property. Safety should be a priority, especially when wiring something incorrectly can lead to shocking results.

One of the most important jobs contractors do concerns wiring. Contact one when you need an entire electrical system installed throughout your home. The electrical system for your residence needs not only conduit wired but also breaker boxes, light switches and a host of mechanisms in place to properly operate.

Before hiring a contactor firm, check with it to see what its specialty is. It could be the company mainly focuses on complete wiring for commercial facilities instead of single-family homes. Just like electricians, there are a few different areas electrical contractors work in. Some exclusively work on higher-voltage projects connecting buildings and factories to the power grid, while others focus on low-voltage work like installing wiring for homes.

Besides installing the wiring system through the walls in your home, an experienced electrical contractor will go the length of your house to ensure the wire path is installed correctly. This ensures that both safety needs and building codes are met. 

Other Work
The expanse of electrical contractors' work continues to grow as more homes and office buildings call for new cable and wiring. Apart from installing conduit throughout a facility, people also contact contractors to run coaxial and fiber optic cables through walls to hook up telecommunications and computer systems. Not only do contractors put in telecommunications cable nowadays, they also install complex fire, smoke and burglar alarms and intercoms.

If it turns out you have large wiring projects around your house that need completing, such as replacing an aging wire system or revamping your home or office with top-of-the-line fiber optics to connect your computers, television and other devices to the Internet, it's best to hire a contractor.

How to Hire the Best Contractor for the Job

Come up with a set budget before looking for contractors to do the job. You need to know how much you can reasonably spend on both parts and labor. Also include provisions in case the work goes slightly over your anticipated budget.

After drawing up your proposed expenditures, there are a few things you should ask before hiring an electrical contractor. These queries can better ensure you find an experienced and trustworthy firm. Let's take a look at what to ask and do before signing a contract with one:

Determine a set budget for your job.

1. Are You an NECA or IEC member?
Always ask if an electrical contractor is a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association or Independent Electrical Contractors. NECA members hire electrical experts and hold a high standard for their work while those associated with the IEC study and formulate electrical codes that electricians and contractors must abide by.

2. Are You Licensed?
Just like an independent electrician, an electrical contractor must be licensed for its workers to perform the complex and sometimes dangerous work they do. Besides asking if they have a license, request to see it in person. Also, make sure the company's license is up to date. 

3. Are You Bonded and Insured?
Remember that the work you hire an electrical contractor to do is crucial to running electricity efficiently and safely through your home. Don't leave this complicated work to just anybody. To safeguard yourself against poor work, make sure the company and its employees on site are both bonded and insured. Not only is this a safety measure for the contractor, it also spares you from paying out of pocket if a worker is hurt on your property or if the contractor walks off the job. Insist on seeing the company's policies and call its insurer to double check.

Contractors must also follow all applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards to ensure its employees stay safe on the job. 

4. Do You Offer a Warranty?
Before hiring a firm, you need to obtain a warranty for its work in writing. Ask how long the labor and parts are guaranteed for and how long the warranty lasts. 

5. Do You Have a Permit?
Keep in mind that it's not your job to get a permit for the work being done on your home. It's the contractor's responsibility to obtain the necessary permits and paperwork from the municipality and he or she should get it under his or her name, not yours.

6. Can You Give Me an Estimate?
Always get an estimate for the intended work. Contact several contractors in your area to compare prices and get a better picture of what the average price for the job could be before you settle on one company.

Finding Trustworthy Contractors

Get a list of references from any contractors you hope to hire.

When asking if they are bonded, insured and if they have a license, it's also best to take the following steps to ensure you hire the best contractors.

1. Ask for References and Referrals
Look to your family, friends and neighbors for advice. They could point you to a reputable professional who's worked for them in the past. In addition to this, get a series of references from any contractors you hope to hire. Contact the list of people they give you and ask them if they were pleased with the work and if it was done on time and on budget. It's also smart to ask if the quote the contractor originally gave them matched the end price when they completed the job. 

2. Look at Experience
In addition to getting a list of references from your contractors, ask them how long their company has been in business and if they have any previous work they can show you. 

3. Check with Business Groups
It's always a good idea to do your due diligence before hiring someone to work on your home. Do a search online for the contracting firm to see if there are any reviews or critiques posted about its work or business ethics. Delve deeper by contacting electrical contractor trade groups like NECA and any business bureaus in your state to ensure the contractor is in good standing.

Asking the right questions and doing your research puts you that much closer to finding an electrical contractor who's not only reputable, but also professional.