Hiring a quality electrician
You can’t be too careful when it comes to your electrical system. Do your homework before hiring anyone to work on it. Plan to get multiple, detailed bids from experienced electricians who have good reputations on a trusted online review site. Verify licensing, as well as insurance and bonding. Make sure to get a line-item proposal detailing exactly what they plan to fix and how much it will cost.
And no matter how old your wiring or your home, make sure to place smoke detectors throughout and practice a response plan in case of fire.
Do your due diligence when hiring an electrician by asking the contractor the right questions.
After your lights flicker a few times, you discover you have an outdated electrical system, such as knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring. This could spell disaster for your electrical appliances, so you decide it’s time to bring your system into the 21st century before it fries your big-screen TV.
Walking around with hair like the “Bride of Frankenstein” is the least that could happen when dealing with electricity, which is why many decide to leave electrical work to the professionals. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that every contractor with the title of “electrician” is actually the professional you need for your job.
Two highly rated electricians suggest asking the following questions to avoid shoddy work:
1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
“A license means that you’ve been through the necessary education,” says Sammy Rubin, owner of Master Electrician in Pinson, Alabama. “It takes about 4,000 hours [of training] minimum.”
2. How many years of experience do you have?
Rubin says experience is as important as having a license
“Experience is always the best teacher, ”Rubin says. “You can have a lot of education, but no experience. You can know the code book, but not know how to implement it.”
He says an experienced business owner knows the importance of quality customer service and will steer customers away from unnecessary expenses and repairs.
RELATED: Is Your Electrician Qualified?
3. Who’s doing the work?
Confirm whether the owner will do the work, or use employees or subcontractors. If the owner isn’t onsite, the employees should be journeyman electricians, not apprentices in training. “An apprentice can’t work by himself,” Moncrief says. “They have to be supervised.”
If subcontractors are used, homeowners should understand their legal responsibility because subcontractors may not be covered under the contractor’s insurance. “A subcontractor opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms,” Moncrief adds. “You want to make sure everybody’s protected.”
4. Do you have a business license?
In addition to having a valid electrician’s license, check whether the contractor is licensed to operate a business in your area, and confirm that the license is current, Rubin says. Many states have a searchable database for licensed businesses on their Secretary of State’s office websites.
5. Do you offer a warranty?
Ask whether the parts or labor or both are under warranty and how long that warranty is effective, Rubin says. A good electrician will offer a warranty, he adds.