Tips on How to Effectively Hire an Electrical Contractor
Are you looking to add outdoor lighting to your home? Or maybe you want to install a new ceiling fan or a wall sconce to add to your home decor. Your best option is to hire a licensed electrician and you can start by asking your co-workers, friends, and neighbors for suggestions for electrical contractors. They may have been through the process and they will have some good tips on rewiring your home.
Always Plan Your Home Rewiring Project
Combining electrical projects will help you save time and money. Think of other things you may want done in the future, such as extra outlets or lighting.
1. Plan a Budget
Know ahead of time how much you are going to spend on your home rewiring project. Your budget should include parts and labor. This may have to be done after you get estimates from contractors. It is always a smart idea to be ready to go up to 20 percent over your budget.
2. Research Potential Electrical Contractors
It is important to get background information from possible electricians before you schedule an estimate. Take notes while you research. It is a good idea to ask questions such as:
Does the electrician have insurance?
Is the work guaranteed in writing?
Is the electrician bonded?
Is the electrician certified and licensed?
Does the electrician have at least three references and can they be contacted?
Is the contractor a part of the Better Business Bureau?
3. Contact the Contractors’ References
Contractors will often times give references, but people usually do not contact them. When you contact the references, add the information to your notes. Here are some good questions to ask:
Was the estimate precise and accurate?
Did the electrician finish the job as scheduled?
Would you hire the electrician again?
Can you describe the contractor’s work ethics?
You can get the contractor’s reliability report from the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind that these members are licensed, screened, and do not have a pattern of complaints.
4. Schedule To Meet With Contractors for Estimates
Meet with the contractors whom you received positive feedback from your contacts and references. Gather critical information and see if the contractor seems ethical and dependable. Be aware of the cost, some estimates may not be free.
It is always a good idea to schedule up up to three estimate and compare the cost because cost of labor and material may vary throughout the year. It is important to get all your estimate within the same period of time.
5. Meet the electrician
Ask the contractor for proof of insurance and bonding. You want to make sure you are not responsible for any injures or damage done to your home. Also ask for proof of license and certifications and ask if the person giving the estimate will do the work. If not, get the qualifications of the other worker or contractor. Add this information to your notes.
The estimate should be in writing and it should include to cost of labor, permits, and materials. Check to make sure the work you want done is all included and that there is a tentative time frame. Also ask who is responsible for repairs such as cut holes in the wall.
If additional work is recommended, get a second opinion and estimates from other electricians.
6. Review your estimates
When comparing your estimates, the less expensive bid may not be the best value. There are others things that should be considered when hiring a contractor. The materials must be of good quality and the contractor should be honest and punctual. Carefully review your notes before agreeing to a contractor.
7. Read the contract carefully
For your home project never settle for just a verbal agreement or a handshake. Read the contract thoroughly before signing it. The contact should include these requirements:
Cost of labor
List of material- purchased by the contractor
Detailed description of the work
Sureness that building permit will be received (contractor’s responsibility)
Start and finish date
Have a certified electrical check your home periodically. Improper wiring and use of electrical appliance can be dangerous and may cause a fire. By using the following home safety tips you can guarantee that you and your family are safe from electrical fires:
Immediately replace damage power cords.
Shut the circuit off if a outlet or switch is hot or stained from heat buildup.
Extension cords are for temporary usage not permanent use
Before plugging in appliances, turn them off.
Keep heaters and quart iodine lamps far away from curtains, clothing or other materials that are combustible.
Remove lint from clothing dryers.
Keep power cords from underneath rugs, carpets or furniture.
Do not overload outlets.
Immediately replace any item that cause electrical shocks, shorts out, overheats or produces smoke or sparks.
With appliances that have three-prong plugs, only use three-slot outlets.
Children should not be allowed to play around electrical appliances.
Use safety closures for child- proof outlets.
Check to make sure an item meets the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) for safety.
Have a running smoke alarm.