Questions to Ask an Electrician
Hiring the right professional starts with asking the right questions
By Sylvia Cochran
Consumers may think that costs are high on the list of questions to ask an electrician. Although budgetary concerns are undeniably important, there are actually other questions that can have a far greater impact. Ask about each professional's credentials, skills, and experience before deciding which electrician to work with.
Are you licensed?
Electrician licensing requirements vary by state. Consumers should contact the local building department, contractor board or occupational licensing office to learn about the rules in their state. If a state requires an electrician to be licensed, consumers must ask about the license status and verify that the professional does not have a revoked or suspended license.
Do I need a permit?
Permit regulations for electrical work differ by state. For example, Oregon requires permits when running supplementary wiring or installing additional outlets. Generally speaking, if a permit is needed, the electrician applies for it and then also contacts the building inspector to come and inspect the work. When the professional expects a consumer to make the call and get the permit, this can be a red flag that the electrician may not have a valid license.
Do you belong to a union?
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has numerous local chapters. Electricians who are active members of a local union chapter must have proof of a minimum five years of classroom training and also undergo at least 8,000 hours of supervised hands-on training during an apprenticeship. Hiring a union electrician -- as opposed to a non-union professional -- has the advantage of knowing the kind of training background the worker possesses.
Do you guarantee that your work will meet code?
The National Electrical Contractors Association urges consumers to make sure ahead of time that the electricians they hire guarantee that all work will meet all applicable codes. This is especially important in areas where no permits need to be pulled for the work that the professionals perform. This guarantee also applies when a permit is pulled but the building inspector fails to give the project his approval. An electrician who guarantees that his or her work meets code will make any changes to correct problems without charging the consumer more money.
Do you guarantee your work and materials?
Manufacturers offer warranties on the materials an electrician likely uses while doing a job. The professional should allow consumers to request replacement of defective items within the warranty period. The electrician also needs to offer a warranty on workmanship and the labor performed by workers he or she employs.
About the Author
Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.
Browse By Top DexKnows Cities
- St Paul
Changing cover plates and lightbulbs is easy enough for anyone to do. But a handy homeowner can also take on other electrical tasks with just a few precautions. However, there are other tasks that should be left to professionals.... Read More