When your home electrical system works, you don’t think about it. It does its job, and you can go about your day normally. When it doesn’t work correctly, you realize how important it is to everything you do. Having electrical problems at home isn’t just inconvenient; it can also indicate dangers lurking within your walls.
Luckily, an experienced electrician can help alleviate those problems. From serious repairs to installs to new home construction, it’s great to know an electrician you can trust to get the job done. But, if you don’t have a professional on speed dial, it can be a little intimidating to look for one.
After all, your home’s electrical system is essential to your everyday life, so you want to work with someone you know will do a good job.
Major Red Flags for Your Home’s Electrical System
Before we get into tips for hiring a certified electrician, we want to outline some urgent situations where calling an electrician as soon as possible is recommended.
- Hot, discolored, loose or otherwise damaged electrical outlets - These signs can indicate the electric socket is damaged or overloaded. These are also signs that the circuit powering that outlet is failing. Either way, it’s essential to get your outlets inspected right away to avoid a potential hazard.
- Buzzing, crackling, sizzling or other unusual sounds - If an outlet or your breaker box is making any unusual noises, it’s best to get an expert’s eyes on it immediately. These noises can indicate electrical malfunction.
- Flickering lights - If your lights are flickering or behaving abnormally after you’ve changed out bulbs, it can indicate something amiss with your home’s electrical system.
- Constant breaker tripping or total power outage – When we lose power to our home, our first call is typically to our electric cooperative. If you have spoken with someone at your cooperative and determined the power outage is not on their side of the meter, you may need to contact a certified electrician to help identify and fix the problem.
If you are unsure about any of the above situations and would like to discuss them with someone before hiring an electrician, your trusted energy advisors at your local electric cooperative are always there to help. They cannot replace a certified contractor but can help answer some of your questions.
Services Electricians Provide
While electricians are highly versatile and can perform a wide gamut of services, here’s a list of some of the ways they can help you:
- General home electrical inspection
- Removing or covering exposed wiring
- Outlet and wiring upgrades
- Installing or replacing indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures
- Installing or replacing ceiling fans
- Replacing outlets
- Installing or replacing light switches
- Repairing or replacing your home’s circuit breaker
- Installing large household appliances
Electrician Recommendations: 6 Tips for Hiring an Electrician
Whether you need an electrician for an emergency repair or a new installation project, here are a few steps you can take to find a professional who can get the job done for you.
Talk With Neighbors, Friends and Family Members.
If you’re in the market for any service, talking with neighbors, friends and family members is a great place to start. Since home electrical system performance is crucial to everyday life, we develop strong opinions towards those who do or don’t do a good job maintaining that system. If they know an electrician who did an excellent job for them, they will want to recommend them to you.
Look At Online Reviews.
If your friends and family members don’t have any recommendations for an electrician in your area, check out the online reviews of your potential options. You can find past and current customers’ stories about working with a potential electrician. While reviews are subjective and lack the full context needed to make a full assessment of a service, they are a great starting point for your search.
If you need general work done or don’t have an emergency, call around and compare electrical contractors. While rates may be similar in your area, it’s smart to make sure you’re getting a fair estimate for the service by comparing rates.
Seek Out Accreditation and Licensing.
Organizations like the Better Business Bureau offer accreditation ratings based on set criteria. While customer ratings and complaints are usually accounted for in these scores, they offer a more objective approach, accounting for the history, transparency and other aspects of the business.
You can check online to see if your potential electrician is a part of an accredited company.
Each state has rules that determine if an electrician must hold a license to perform work. In Iowa, all electricians must hold a state license to perform work. There are multiple classifications of licenses, each with its own electrician licensing requirements.
In Missouri, there are no state electrician licensing requirements, but many local governments have their own requirements. Make sure to check these before you hire someone to begin work.
And, in Oklahoma, you must hold a state license issued by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board in order to work as an electrician. Regardless of your state’s requirements, it is best to only use a licensed electrician to perform work in your home.
Once you’ve decided to call to inquire about your electrical need, creating a list of questions can help you better understand whether or not you should choose a certain electrician for the job. A few questions include:
- What is your estimate for this job?
- What is the potential timeline?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Who will be completing the work?
Electricians understand that getting the job done right is important to you, so they should be willing and able to answer any questions you have.
Contact Your Electric Cooperative.
When it comes to ownership over electrical components in your home, things can get confusing. If you are unsure if a repair is the responsibility of your electric cooperative or if it is up to you, contact your electric cooperative to get more information.
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