25 Things Your Electrician Wishes You Knew
Before you attempt to DIY a power problem in your home, be sure to read what these electricians have to say.
I’m not unskilled labor
I’ve spent four to eight years in apprentice school learning how to plan, install, inspect, and repair electrical products. Don’t insult my intelligence by implying otherwise.
Please don’t try to do it on your own
Electricity is complicated and dangerous. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could start a fire or get electrocuted—sometimes fatally. Pretty much anything beyond plugging something into the wall should be left to a professional. The cost of my visit is nothing compared to the price of your safety. Here are 12 more home improvement projects you should never DIY.
Don’t turn off your main breaker immediately
Even if you do go ahead and try to solve your electric issues by yourself, don’t shut off only your electric panel’s main circuit breaker, which is usually the top switch. Turning that off before all the miniature circuit breakers (the smaller switches that control a specific outlet or part of the home) means the entire load of electricity suddenly has nowhere to go, which could overload the panel—and that’s an expensive fix. Shut off each individual circuit first, then turn off the main breaker.
Call as early as possible
Don’t call at the end of the day if you want same-day service. After 4:30 or 5:30 p.m., I need to pay my workers overtime, so I’ll charge you more to make up for it. Calling first thing in the morning lets me fit your job into my day—and you’ll see a lower bill.
My license protects you
Even if a business without a license can charge you less, it’s worth looking for a licensed electrician like me. Most states require professional electricians to be licensed, so a person without one is a red flag. He or she might not have insurance and could stop picking up the phone if something goes wrong. As a licensed electrician, I will be held accountable—which is good news for my customers. Check out these other 35 things every homeowner needs to know.
Look at reviews, not just price
Online reviews are useful when you’re on the hunt for a trustworthy electrician. If the person with the lowest quote also has the worst ratings, it’s worth shelling out a bit more. If that cheaper electrician messes up, you’ll just need to call me (and my higher price) and pay more overall.
I can’t fix everything
I don’t specialize in installing dishwashers or washing machines, so please don’t call me about them. You’re better off finding a plumber.
Have everything on hand that I recommend
I’ll try to fix your old item if I can, but I might ask you to have a new replacement on hand just in case. Don’t skip the shopping trip because you’re banking on me being able to fix the old one. If it’s beyond repair, I’ll need to come back (and charge you) for a second visit once you get to the store instead of finishing the first time around, ultimately costing you more. You’re better off buying it and returning it if we don’t need it. Just don’t bother with these 32 home upgrades that are a waste of money.
You might get a better deal in the winter
My busy season is when people are spending their tax returns and spring-cleaning, but I’m slower in the winter months leading up to that. Call me then, and I might be able to offer you a lower rate if I’m desperate for business.
The cheapest option might not be best
Power outlets in homes—but not businesses and other buildings—are required to have tamper-resistant receptacles, which prevent kids from getting hurt when sticking objects in the slot. At first glance, the tamper-resistant receptacles don’t look different from the ones without the safety feature, so read the label closely if you need to buy a new one. They’re a little more expensive, but I’ll send you back for another if you don’t shell out the extra money up front.