Savvy homeowners know they can often save a little money by DIY-ing common home repairs in certain areas. The savviest homeowners also know that electrical work is not one of these areas. The work is inherently dangerous, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might put your family and home at risk for an electrical fire down the line. Best to leave these complex tasks to the professionals. How do you know you’re hiring a qualified residential electrician? Here are few things to look for to ensure you’re making the best choice.
Is the electrician fully licensed and insured?
This is the basic starting point, but don’t stop here. Ask specific questions about who will actually be performing the work on your home. If it’s an apprentice or journeyman, find out about their training and qualifications. Make sure anyone working on your home is up to date on the National Electrical Code, which outlines important standards for electrical services and is updated every three years. Finally, check that your electrician is carrying Liability Insurance and Workman’s Comp.
What kind of warranty do they offer?
This will protect you down the line if anything goes wrong. You want to be clear on what the warranty covers (parts, labor, both?) and how long it lasts. Get a copy of the warranty in writing and keep it in a safe place in case you need to reference it later.
Are they experienced?
Electricians with more years in the field have built up a larger and more diverse knowledge base. They’ve likely encountered your situation before and may know a particular trick or have just the right tool to get the job done more quickly or avoid a common error. It’s also a good idea to dig deeper and ask about what kind of work they do most often. Basic home repairs and installations? New construction? Commercial work? Choose someone who’s not just experienced overall but who has spent the bulk of their time specializing in the area you’re hiring them for.
What kind of reviews do they get?
Get recommendations from friends and ask specific questions about their experience. Was the electrician on time? Were they thorough in assessing the situation and answering any questions? Was the work completed in a timely manner? Were there any issues along the way? Does your friend think the value of the work was in line with the cost? You can also check online reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, as well as ask the electrician for references. Finally, check in with the Better Business Bureau, which can tell you whether an electrician’s license is up-to-date and whether they’re currently dealing with any legal actions or complaints.
What does your gut tell you?
It’s possible a potential candidate is hitting all the right marks — licensed, insured, experienced, and highly recommended — but you just don’t feel right about them. In that case, it’s okay to move on and find someone else. You want to be comfortable with anyone who’s going to be doing work in your home, especially when it’s something as sensitive and important as electrical services. Don’t be afraid to hold out for someone you trust completely. You deserve a residential electrician who gets top marks in the areas listed above and who leaves you with no doubts about your choice.