What Is an Electrician And When You Might Need One

Electrical
Small Projects and Repairs
By Dikran Seferian August 20, 2021

Ever since its advent, electricity has been an integral part of our lives. Many of our household activities are reliant on electricity. You wake up in the morning and brew your coffee with an electrical coffee maker. You then check your emails on your laptop that you charge with electricity. Afterward, you turn on the television to watch the news. What makes it all happen? With electricity. The lighting, the wi-fi, the fridge, and pretty much anything that you can think of needs electricity to work. One power outage or a short circuit and you would lose access to all or part of these utilities. That’s when electricians come in. Electricians are the uncaped superheroes who are behind the installation, maintenance, and repair of everything that brings our homes to life and brightens it up.

What Is an Electrician?

Electricians are specialized tradespeople who handle the A-to-Z of everything that pertains to electricity. Although the term is specific, there are several types of electricians, each of which has its own work environment. Construction electricians, for example, work in factories and plants whereas commercial electricians apply their skills in public structures. Our focus, however, is on residential electricians (also known as domestic or home electricians).

Electricians are also categorized in terms of expertise and scope of work. When you have an unexpected power outage, you would probably call an emergency electrician. These types of technicians are skilled in diagnosing the issue and conducting (pun intended) immediate electrical repairs. A master electrician is the one who usually oversees the electrical wiring installation at a construction site. 

There Are Many Specializations Within the Trade of Electricians

There Are Many Specializations Within the Trade of Electricians

What Type of Jobs Does an Electrician Do?

Electricians are responsible for everything from electrical installations, follow-ups, repairs, and check-ups. Even a home renovation may very well involve some electrical work. 

In the installation phase, electrical contractors are the ones responsible for laying out and revising the diagram of the electric system in your home. After installing the panels, the wiring, the outlets, and everything in between, an electrical repairman would take care of any maintenance that may be needed afterward. 

Every now and then, you may experience issues within your home’s electrical system; an electrician would use specialized devices like voltmeters and thermal scanners to fish out the problem and solve it. Their arsenal is made up of a variety of tools; these include simple ones such as wire strippers and conduit benders to technical devices such as the ones mentioned above. Whether the problem comes from faulty wiring or a malfunctioning transformer, electricians are well equipped to handle a variety of issues. 

The Many Situations At Home When You Might Need an Electrician

The Many Situations At Home When You Might Need an Electrician

When Might You Need an Electrician?

Suppose you are watching TV during a thunderstorm and sudden lightning leads to a power outage. The most obvious course of action would be to call an electrician; you could be dealing with a burnt panel or an electrical board that has suffered the wrath of the thunder. Let’s say you are setting up a new room and looking for some lighting solutions; an electrician with good expertise will provide you with a strategic layout and will even take care of the installation. A really serious problem would be when you have water leaking out of a power outlet; in this case, one might wonder whether to call up the electrician or the plumber. Essentially any issue or matter pertaining to electricity would require consulting a reliable electric.

Some other scenarios that might warrant the need for an electrician to come over:

  • If you notice rust on the main panel, you may need to inform the electrician as soon as possible to prevent the issue from escalating.
  • If outlets and other electrical components are warm to the touch or have blackened towards the surface, immediate attention is required; more so if you smell something burning.
  • Constantly flickering lights may indicate a disturbance in the circuit, in which case an electrician may need to take a look.
  • A poorly organized wiring system can be a catastrophe waiting to happen, especially in wet areas like the kitchen. Having an electrician tidy up the system will give you peace of mind.

How Much Does Hiring an Electrician Cost?

Depending on the level of expertise, an electrician's yearly salary in the United States is around $60,000 on average. You can expect to hire an electrician for an average of $25 to $30 an hour. The pricing also accounts for the overtime hours in addition to their transportation costs; an electrician would sometimes have to work late hours or drive long distances to a job location. Independent electricians may also charge differently than those who are appointed by electrical companies. The latter usually charge about $15 an hour, but they enjoy employment benefits such as insurance and pensions, whereas independent electricians offer their services on a freelance basis.

Where Do They Fit Within a Renovation?

If you’re planning on remodeling your home, you may wonder where or whether you would require the services of an electrician. You could be rearranging your interior and might need to relocate some electrical outlets; that is one example where you could perhaps consult an electrical technician. In this case, the ideal stage at which you could incorporate the electrical work is after you’ve finalized the interior design plan; once you’ve decided where the TV would go, where the cabinet would go, and so on, then you’d know where to place the outlets for your convenience. Another ideal example would be when you are child-proofing your house and you need to make sure the electrical system does not openly pose a safety hazard. In this case, an electrician’s job would be to carry out a thorough inspection and make adjustments where necessary.

Another huge home renovation example that would definitely require some electrical work would be when you’re planning a smart home upgrade. In this case, a major reconfiguration of the electrical system could be in order, requiring the services of an expert electric.

Home Improvements You Might Need An Electrician For

Home Improvements You Might Need An Electrician For

Specialty Skills and Classifications of Electricians

Residential electricians can be further classified according to skill level and area of expertise. Budget electricians, for example, are usually apprentices of the trade. Their work mainly consists of simple tasks such as lighting fixtures. A similar level of expertise would perhaps be that of a low voltage electrician, who specializes in the installation of video surveillance, entertainment systems, and other low voltage equipment. A more experienced electrician would be able to deal with maintenance issues as well as advanced installations. 

Master electricians, on the other hand, have years of experience under their belts and are often hired by contracting companies to work alongside engineers and architects.

How to Choose the Best Electrician

Licensed electricians are obviously a preferred choice, especially a local one with a good reputation in terms of experience and professionalism. Unless you prefer opting for a more affordable service like that of a budget electrician, licensed ones provide a higher guarantee of adequate results. Finding these two criteria in an electrician will ensure ideal results as well as a smooth transaction. To avoid an awkward situation, it would also be smart to ask about the pricing beforehand. Also, some electricians are more specialized in certain aspects of the domain; asking about their area of expertise would determine whether you are hiring the right person for the job.

Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that being an electrician can be a dangerous job, which is why it’s important to hire one who is insured; otherwise, you could find yourself having to pay for an unfortunate incident. Although accidents do happen, hiring an experienced professional would reduce the chances of avoidable and costly mistakes.

A good question to ask your potential electrician is whether they belong to a union. Normally, trade unions only accept members who are certified. Electricians who belong to a union most likely have the necessary qualifications to practice their trade and are therefore reliable. You may go a step further and ask them to provide references for evidence of the quality of their service.

Questions to Ask When Hiring an Electrician

Questions to Ask When Hiring an Electrician

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian