Electrician Seattle WA
Electricians are trained, licensed professionals who install, service, and repair electrical systems. They may work in home, commercial, or industrial settings. Service electricians will focus on repairing pre-existing installations, where construction electricians will primarily focus on wiring new construction. The trade is regulated because electrical work is potentially dangerous, with fire, personal injury, and death being potential outcomes if the practitioner does not exercise sufficient care. For these reasons, one should always hire a licensed, bonded electrician for electrical work.
To become an electrician, a person must complete an apprenticeship and demonstrate knowledge and skill in the field. An apprenticeship is a period of several years, generally 3 to 5, in which the apprentice works under direct supervision of a Journeyman Electrician, who is himself under the supervision of a Master Electrician. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, the apprentice may apply for a license. To determine if a license will be granted, the apprentice’s knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local and state electrical and building codes will be tested. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, and not all states offer statewide licensing. In these states, license requirements are handled by regional authorities, such as counties or cities.
Choosing An Electrician
As mentioned earlier, electrical work has the potential to be very dangerous, so choosing the right electrician is extremely important, and will require that you do some research. This is also not an area to economize – choosing an electrician on price alone is a fool’s game. Also, electricians tend to specialize, so it is important to choose form electricians who do the kind of work you need. You could ask for referrals from local electrical supply houses or homebuilder’s associations. Other sources of information are friends, neighbors, or colleagues who have had similar work done, and referral/rating services such as Angie’s List. If all else fails, the Yellow pages will have a list of most if not all the licensed electricians in your area.
Once you have found potential electricians, you should interview them. Although electricians tend to be busy, a professional electrician should be willing to spend time with you discussing his qualifications, the needs of your job, and provide references and proof of licensure and insurance. Anyone unwilling to do so should be removed from your list.
A word about licensure and insurance – these two requirements are non-negotiable, and it is up to you to ensure that they are both valid and up-to-date. Failing to do so could cost you dearly.
Once you have decided on possible electricians, you should ask for references, and contact them. Do not assume that the mere offering of references means that the references are real, or are as satisfied as the electrician says. As in all professions, most electricians are honorable people, but there are bad apples in all walks of life, and you do not want to find out you got one. Possible questions to ask include:
- Did the electrician do the work to your satisfaction?
- Did the electrician do the work in the time promised?
- Were the costs as estimated, and if not, did the cost overruns make sense to you?
- Were there any problems encountered, and if so, how were they resolved?
- Would you hire the electrician again?
- Did the electrician leave the worksite clean and tidy?
If possible, you want to see some work the electrician has done and try to judge its quality. If the electrician worked on outlets and switches, they should be smooth and plumb to the wall. If they are not, this indicates that the electrician did not set the boxes properly, and shows poor attention to detail. They should also work smoothly and properly.
Wiring itself is usually inside walls, and thus hard to examine, but is often exposed in unfinished areas, such as attics, basements, and garages. It is also often visible at junction boxes and circuit breaker panels. Here, what you want to see is neat and orderly cabling that is firmly but not tightly attached to walls or ceilings, with no jumbling or drooping. Messy cabling where it is visible is indicative of messy cabling elsewhere, and could be dangerous.
Though it may seem daunting, with the right attention to detail on your part, you can find the electrician who will meet your needs and your budget.