The world we live in is incredibly complicated, and as fields grow ever more specialized, no one person can be an expert in everything. Thankfully, we can consult experts for tips when dealing with some simple problems. Here are a few tips for homeowners from our qualified staff.
- Always Check Permitting. Whether you are looking to get a bit of work done, have hired someone to do work for you, or are moving into a new home, double check permitting for any electrical work conducted. One of the benefits of hiring a real pro is that they will always make sure that permitting is handled correctly. Failing to secure permitting could put you in financial or legal trouble, and when work is not permitted it is often a sign that the work is subpar. If someone is unprofessional in one area, it is likely that they will perform shoddy work. If the permits require inspections, it can also ensure that the electrical work is up to code and will withstand scrutiny. Unpermitted electrical work can be a major reason for the denial of insurance claims if an accident occurs. Proper permitting is the bare minimum you should expect if you want to have some assurance that electrical work has been done safely and professionally.
- Never Attempt Work You Are Not Qualified For. If you are a DIY kind of person, that’s great. However, make sure that you fully understand the scope of any projects that you will undertake, and that you are prepared to call in a professional when approaching a project which is beyond your ability. When doing home repairs or maintenance, some jobs are much more difficult than others. It can be relatively simple to learn how to seal up a wall, or to repair some small issues with the framing. However, electrical work is often much more complicated, and not intuitive. Using a component which seems to be interchangeable but is actually not could cause serious safety risks and installing components into an electrical system has a great deal of risk without proper training. Anything beyond the most basic of electrical work should be handled by a trained professional. This will almost certainly save you money in the long run, as well as ensuring that you live comfortably and safely.
- Be Aware of Signs of Failure. There are a number of different things that you can look out for which might give you a good idea of the health of your electrical system. Feel free to browse past articles, as there are a number of great tips there. One big one to watch out for is discoloration around electrical sockets, or noticeable heat associated with a socket. These could both be a sign of unwanted discharge, and constitute a fire hazard. Being aware of the health of your electrical system will let you get on top of problems before they become large. Generally speaking, it is cheaper to correct problems when they are just beginning than later down the line. Perhaps once or twice a year, do a full inspection yourself, looking for signs that things are not as they should be. If any issues are discovered or suspected, a qualified electrician should be consulted. Keeping your electrical system in tip top shape is a great way to save money and live safely.
- Update Your System. Not only should you keep your system from failing, but periodic upgrades can allow you to live more comfortably and safely as well. Some of these can be quite cheap, yet offer large benefits. For example, upgrading to a new or more convenient outlet type can typically be accomplished quite quickly and cheaply by a trained professional, but can drastically increase safety. Whether it be GFCI outlets, USB options, or simple safety features, this is a great way to increase your home value. If you are looking to sell and the homeowner can see that the visible parts of the electrical system are clearly well maintained and updated, they will be likely to feel assured that the rest of the electrical system (or even the whole home) is similarly maintained. Bringing your home into the modern age will help you to preserve value.
- Use Trusted Electricians. Only fully qualified professionals with experience and a good history of quality work should be trusted to work on your electrical system. Many of the times that electrical problems occur, it is found that some or all of the electrical work was done by someone who was unqualified or uncertified for the work they were performing. Often, the homeowner will end up paying for the work twice, first for the job to be bungled, and then later for a professional to come in and clean up the mess. Electrical work is not simple, and should be left to the pros.