Most Common Reasons to Call an Electrician
Many people like to do the work in their homes for themselves. Some enjoy the process of performing maintenance or renovations, while others like the fact that it keeps money in their wallets. But how do you know when it’s time to call up a professional, especially when it comes to electrical components or repairs? Here’s what you need to know.
Why call an electrician?
According to the National Library of Medicine’s report on electrical injuries, in the United States, there are roughly 1000 deaths every year attributed to electrical injury, with 30,000 non-fatal on top of that. Roughly 20% of these injuries occur in children, who are most often injured at home due to a lapse in supervision or an unsafe electricity source.
The electricity running through your home can be extremely dangerous. If not rooted and grounded correctly, it can electrify things that shouldn’t have power, cause shorts in electronics and appliances, or worse yet, start a house fire. Handling electricity should only be done in a controlled and well-researched manner, and should most often be done by trained professionals.
An electrician often spends many years in an apprenticeship, learning their trades from other seasoned professionals through hands-on experience. Many states require not only this but also a formal trade license, which can take up to two years and 240 hours of in-class instruction. During this time, electricians learn the ins and outs of wiring in both commercial and domestic settings and how to properly install, remove, and repair electrical lines of many kinds.
What are the most common reasons to call an electrician?
It’s always best to call an electrician in for large, complicated, or hazardous jobs. Here are some of the most common reasons you might call on a professional.
Lighting and switch issues
One of the most common reasons to call an electrician is actually a two-fold problem: either your lights are flickering or simply not working, your switches are not working properly, or both things are happening simultaneously.
Flickering lights often mean that your bulbs are operating at too high of a wattage for your grid system. It can also mean there are disconnects or loose connections in the wiring between the bulb and the grid.
Switch issues tend to point to an improperly installed switch, issues with connections, or grounding issues. In the case of grounding and other wiring issues, your light switches or sockets might heat up or even administer a light shock. In those cases, it’s important to call an electrician to correct the issue immediately.
Sparks or shorts
Obviously, seeing sparks in your house is incredibly concerning and often means there’s a deeper electrical issue that should be evaluated by a professional. Sparking can short out circuits, leading to dangerous issues and costly repairs if not caught early.
Limited outlet availability
In older houses especially, the number of outlets per room might be too low to support the amount of electricity and the number of appliances and devices being used. You might also have outdated outlets without grounding, which can make plugging in modern electronics like laptops difficult, leaving you to rely on adapters to do so.
An electrician can help you add outlets to your home and compensate for the additional wattage used in your grid system safely.
Outdated or unoptimized wiring
Again in older homes, the actual wires themselves may be a concern for your electricity grid. Older homes might use aluminum wires or wires with cloth coverings, both of which are fire hazards that should be replaced with rubber-insulated copper wiring.
An electrician can also help you optimize your wiring layout to prevent tangles, shorts, and sparks, which again, improves the safety of your home, but can also improve your electricity bill.
Any time you are doing home renovations that require large-scale changes to the walls or the installation of new electrical hookups, you should involve a certified electrician in your plans and process. They can help you not only map out the most efficient placement for new outlets and hookups but also make sure that everything on the electrical system stays safe and up to code throughout the project.
Ideally, you’ll want to at least consult an electrician for every electricity-involved project that you do, to make sure that you’re doing it safely and correctly according to legal standards. For small projects, going DIY might be fine with the right guidance, but for larger, more involved repairs and home improvement ideas, having a professional onsite, doing the work with years of experience to back them up, is usually the best option.