When Do I Need To Hire An Electrician? Part 1

Licensed electricians in a Maryland home

When do I need a licensed electrician?

Maintaining a home or building is important and most folks are trying to make their dollar go farther when it comes to investing in upkeep or renovations. For some jobs it may be okay to take on learning a new skill to complete it DIY or hire a general handyman. However, it is always critical to make sure there are no corners cut on your electrical system.

If you have ever asked yourself: “Do I need to hire a licensed electrician for this?” The answer is yes. Changing a lightbulb or replacing an appliance are tasks most home or business owners qualify for. Adding or modifying outlets, altering wiring or any other projects that expose you to unprotected electrical components need to be performed by a professional.

In this multi-part series, Sansbury Electric will help educate its readers on some of the most important electrical information that home and building owners need to be aware of during maintenance and renovations. Learning how to spot shoddy electrical work can help keep your family and investments safe.

Hire a professional service

Unprofessional electrical work can result in life-threatening hazards such as electrocution and fire. Hiring a licensed electrician will protect you from risk of serious injury, property damage and associated liability because they are legally required to perform the work according to stringent state and federal codes. 

Importance of wiring

Residential and commercial construction must follow different codes for proper wiring. The wiring in homes is typically covered in a thin plastic sheathing and commonly referred to as Romex. It is acceptable to install this type of wire in homes because it is protected behind walls or in the attic space and not exposed to open areas. Residential wiring is also typically limited to single phase power ranging from 120 volts to 240 volts. Commercial wiring needs to be much thicker and is responsible for single phase and three phase power ranging from 120 volts up to 480 volts.

Commercial wiring must also be completely enclosed by metal conduit and protected by properly mounted junction and termination boxes. In some instances, flexible metal conduit can be used. This extra protection is necessary because commercial wiring is often exposed in open areas of ceilings or surface mounted to walls. Commercial grade wiring is also protected by additional grounding and GFCI outlets. Commercial wire also features a thermoplastic coating that is designed to resist corrosion from gasses or liquids. This is especially important in areas that are exposed to heat and moisture such as restaurants, food processing and other manufacturing facilities.

Residential wiring exposed in wood framing
Commercial electrical conduit

Common shortcuts

It is common for unlicensed contractors to cut corners by installing exposed residential style wiring in commercial applications. Residential wiring is cheap and fast to install in comparison to commercial grade wiring. It is important to hire a licensed contractor for both residential and commercial settings. Improper wiring and connections can lead to an unreliable power source and create a major risk of fire or electrocution.

If you can see any exposed wires or connections in your building, or are unsure of your electrical systems condition, it is important to have an inspection completed by a licensed electrician. Many electrical companies will provide a free safety evaluation of your home or business. After the inspection they will make recommendations of any deficiencies that need to be fixed.

Incorrect and dangerous wiring in a commercial kitchen

When it comes to electrical systems, play it safe and hire a licensed electrician like Sansbury Electric to help keep you up and running. 

Give us a call at 301-920-0595 or complete the form on our contact page to receive your free quote. 

Sansbury Electric is a small, locally-owned business, with over 30 years of experience that have served Washington, D.C, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware since 2010. Our team is known for our high-quality electrical services with a team that delivers a client focused experience. Honesty, ease for the client, friendliness, and an on-time and on-budget experience are the core values that drive our day-to-day interactions.

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