• Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

    Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

    If you own an older home or buying a fixer-upper upgrading your electrical panel should be at the top of your list of repairs.  If you are unfamiliar with what the electrical panel does, beyond making the lights work.  Your electrical panel is the control system for all of the electricity in your home.  You can turn off the entire power to your home there or turn it off to specific rooms.  The panel is made up of breakers or fuses that can trip if you have too much electricity or not enough.  The panel is measured in amps and most homes use sixty amps or higher.

    Why Upgrade?

    You may be wondering if you should even bother to upgrade since everything works, but there are plenty of reasons why.  The average home has more appliances and electronic devices than ever and they all need to be charged or plugged in, which means an increased demand on your old electrical panel.  Replacing your panel is definitely not a DIY weekend project you can do yourself.  Electricity is not something that you mess around with, you need an electrician to make sure that everything is safe and up to your local building codes.

    Safety is a Factor

    One of the most important reasons to consider upgrading is because of the safety of you and your family.  In fact, your homeowner’s insurance may even require you to upgrade to continue getting coverage.  If you have constant issues like fuses blowing or the lights flicker when you use the microwave then you need an upgrade, the problem will only get worse and you increase the possibility of an electrical fire.  For those that have bought homes, they are planning to renovate then if you do anything that increases the square footage, such as finishing the basement it will also increase the load your electrical panel has to handle. Selling your home in today’s market means that it needs to be up to code, with an up-to-date electrical system.

    What to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel To

    Most homes today have at least 100amps but it can go to 150, 200, or even 400amps.  You can talk with your electrician to decide what is best for your home.  You can have an energy audit done or take a look at your current bills to see what amounts of electricity you are using.  In addition to your electrical panel,

    you may need to upgrade your wiring at the same time.  Costs can depend on the extent of the work, start by talking to a couple of different electricians and get a price quote before you decide.

  • Different Types of Electricians Explained

    Different Types of Electricians Explained

    If you are planning home improvements and you aren’t sure if you need an electrician, or an electrical contractor or the difference between the two, then let us help you figure it out.  The term “electrician” is pretty broad and that can be the guy who rewires your recessed lighting to the guy who strings the powerlines outside.  Let’s breakdown for you the different types of electricians and what their job entails.

    Electrician or Electrical Contractor

    Let’s start with the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor.  An electrical contractor is a company that works with electrical systems, and that can be residential, commercial or industrial.  The electrician is the guy hired by the electrical contractor who does the actual work.  Both have to be licensed by the state and carry insurance.  Now when it comes to electricians that work for companies there are typically three different types:

    • Apprentice: These are electricians at the beginning of their career, just starting out and learning on the job and in the classroom.  They are supervised by qualified electricians and the apprentice period can last three to five years.  They do earn a salary during this time but they are the lowest paid.
    • Journeymen: These are more experienced electricians and they have a different type of license, they work with cable systems and wire new buildings.
    • Project Supervisors: These electricians have the most experience and they oversee big projects.  They make sure that the environment is safe, the job is done to industry standards and that project deadlines are met.

    The Scope of Services they Provide

    Electrical contractors all specialize in different types of work and if you’re looking to hire an electrician or electrical contractor then you need to make sure they are the right type.  Here is a breakdown of the different types of work that they do.

    • Outside Workers: These electricians are also called line workers and they work on the power lines that deliver electricity from your local power plant to your home.
    • Inside Workers: These are the electricians that are responsible for the wiring inside of a structure. They are the residential electricians that work on your home, commercial electricians that work on office buildings and the electricians that wire institutions like hospitals or government buildings.
    • Low Voltage Electricians: These types of electricians are more specialized and work with audio and video systems, wireless networks, lighting, and communication systems.

    Most people deal with residential electricians, but regardless of the type of electricity that they work with they must still be licensed by the state.  That ensures that any electrician you hire will have the credentials you need.