You’ve bought yourself an EMF meter. You’ve been taking readings and surprise surprise your readings are off the charts. You suspect something is wrong with your electrical wiring but you’re at a loss as to what needs to be done.
Or perhaps it’s just one of your rooms that could do with an extra socket, or the garden needs some security lighting.
In this guest post Mertech Electrical offer some some sage advice to take heed of before hiring an electrician:
Due to the obvious dangers of working with home or industrial electrics, very few tasks can be done by yourself. This is why you need a qualified electrician to take over. Choosing the right one is a thorough task that requires due care and attention. If the one you hired did a fantastic job, you could hire him or her again, which makes life easier.
Whether you know him or her, mutually or not, it is always best to do the math. This is where our handy guide comes into play.
1. Check to see if they are licensed
Are they licensed or not? Do they have the necessary qualifications (degree-level, Master or Journeyman Electrician status) or memberships of any professional bodies? As well as their website or listings in traditional media (telephone directories and classified ads), they might be on a professional social networking site like LinkedIn.
If they are part of a LLC (a Limited Liability Company), check the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR website via sec.gov. On your desired company’s website, the company’s CIK (Central Index Key) number may be seen in the footer.
2. Do they have a warranty?
All electricians should have a warranty for their work. In many cases, the fact they have a warranty is detailed on their website or on classified advertisements. When asking for a quote, please remember to ask about warranty terms.
3. Do they do a good job?
When shopping around, the customers’ reviews page is an important must. Though many reviews will be honest, some might not as they seem. A rival electrician with a grudge could have submitted a bad review, to besmirch the good name of another business. Some may lack sincerity and sound like the work of a spammer.
Lately, review websites like Reevoo and Trustpilot have ensured that all reviews are authoritative and truthful. This has meant spam blocking through algorithms used by the above sites. Word of mouth is another good source, though hearsay evidence could be taken with a pinch of salt without reference to secondary sources.
Another suitable source is the BBB website. The Better Business Bureau site has a database of members in the United States of America and Canada. For over a century, it has been one of the longest consumer protection bureaus. It is stated on their website that seven out of ten people choose a BBB Accredited Business.
4. Are they qualified?
Make sure you opt for a Journeyman or Master Electrician. A Journeyman Electrician has had at least 4,080 to 6,120 hours of on-the-job training (and 144 hours of classroom training). He or she will have done a two-year degree relevant to their profession, and an apprenticeship for two to six years. All Journeyman Electricians will have also passed a licensing exam.
All electricians need to serve a three to five year apprenticeship under the supervision of both a Master Electrician and a Journeyman Electrician.
5. Compare differences in job charges
Charges differ from electrician to electrician. Where some electricians may opt for set prices, others may prefer to charge an hourly rate. Take into account the complexity of any given job and the likely duration of the project.
6. Flexibility matters
Will the electrician be able to work around your engagements? Do they offer a 24/7 service? Could you contact them by telephone or cellphone as well as email (or follow their social networking pages)? If you can find one that works around your needs without rearranging appointments or booking time off from work, you are sorted. Alongside price, that too could be a dealbreaker.
7. Shop around
Going for the first quote you receive is seldom a good idea. It is always worth seeking quotes from further electricians. Some may be unable to fulfil your schedule due to other jobs or vacations (even electricians need a break now and then). If you ask for a quote over the telephone, their response will be immediate compared with email.
If the electrician you found did a remarkable job, it may be worth keeping hold of their contact details for future reference.
8. Are they licensed?
All electrical contractors should be licensed under the ICC (International Code Council) and the IRC (International Residential Code). In addition, each state sets their own licensing programs for electrical contractors. Furthermore, licensing programs may vary from city to city. The General Contracting License Guide (generalcontractorlicenseguide.com) is a useful source for information on licensing programs at state and city levels.
9. Agree to a quote, not an estimate
A quote offers a more detailed breakdown of prospective works. There will also be details of required parts, estimated completion time, and what the job entails. A payment calendar may include details of your deposit followed by subsequent payments. There may be options to pay with credit or debit cards, check, or ACH bank transfer.
10. Finally, anything that is too good to be true, is too good to be true
The cheapest quote could result in forking out for more expensive work (if s/he messed up the job). This is where reading the reviews and undertaking your own due diligence work also pays off.
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Other things to consider:
Never pay the electrician upfront before s/he starts work. Always make payments after the job is completed. Many reputable electricians refrain from requesting payments upfront – especially in cash. Insist on making payments after receiving your invoice. Pay via Bank Transfer (Automated Clearing House ACH transfers and payment in installments may be available), check, or credit or debit card. If you pay with a credit card, you have extra protection should the company go bust.
Avoid paying in cash – and always ask for a receipt:
There is one good reason for refraining from cash payments: you can lose track of any payments you have made. The contractor could lose track as well, and the job you hired him or her for, could be more than the original agreed figures.
This is why you should ask for a receipt or a statement of account. If the works fall under your business expenses, you have a physical record of the works for your tax return. Plus it is useful should the installation works go wrong (details of the electrician’s contact details will enable you to contact him or her).
If you have any concerns…
Don’t be afraid to talk to the electrician straight away. If he or she is part of a company, then forward your concerns to the person in charge of the electrician. If you are unhappy with any part of his or her work, state clearly where s/he went wrong. Then suggest a possible solution and allow enough time for him or her to remedy the fault.
Here’s My Take
Old homes, new homes, wiring errors are extremely common. Some experts claim that 90% of homes are plagued by wiring errors. In many cases these errors go unnoticed.
Yet the long term consequences of wiring errors can be highly detrimental to the occupants of the home.
What to do? Either call in an EMF consultant or equip yourself with an EMF meter capable of testing electric and magnetic fields to do your own testing. High magnetic field readings are a strong indication that you have wiring errors.
Another good diagnostic tool is a Clamp-On Ammeter. Doing some simple diagnostic work upfront will often save you time and money in the long run. This article explains why and how to use a a Clamp-On Ammeter.
Then you can call in an electrician to get the wiring issue resolved.