Hanging new lights, adding a few outlets, or just changing the switches on the wall all involve working with the wiring in your home. While the wiring is not overly complicated, if you do not know what you are doing, you should call in a contractor with electrical experience or an electrician to help you out. There are times when you may not need to hire an electrician but if you are even a little unsure about the work that you need to, play it safe and get someone that knows how to do it right to avoid long-term problems.
Where Does The Electricity Come From?
In every home, there is a panel called the breaker panel or in older homes, it might still be a fuse box. The electric company will bring a wire to your home from the nearest pole and run it into a piece of conduit called the weatherhead. The line comes down to the electric meter on the outside of your home then into the back of the fuse or breaker panel. This is often referred to as the service entrance. This is all high voltage electricity at that point so do not attempt to do anything with the service entrance. If it needs repaired, replaced, or somehow changed, notify the electric company and let them deal with it.
When Do You Need An Electrician?
The rules vary from state to state but in most cases, if you are making any change to the wiring in the home, it is a good idea to call an electrician in to do the work. Check the laws where you are for guidance as to whether you need an electrician or contractor for your project. Many homeowners are capable of changing a light fixture or replacing switches or outlets and if you don't, there are many resources to teach you how to do it but if it is not legal for you to do and something happens like a fire or short circuit in the switch or outlet you changed, your homeowners insurance might not cover damages if you were not supposed to working on them.
Where Do I Find A Qualified Electrician?
If you check the local phone listings or do a search online, you will most likely find several electricians in your area. You can take the time to call and discuss your project or have them out for an estimate and a cup of coffee. Getting comfortable with them and finding out the level of experience they have will make it easier to work on your project with them and trust the work they will do. Don't be afraid to ask questions so that you completely understand what they are going to do for you and how it will be done. Asking about certifications and training is a good idea as well. It can put you at ease and it ensures you get an experienced electrician to do the work you need to be done.