What jobs around the house do I need an electrician for?

View comments

The heart of your home's "operating system" is its electrical network. Just think of all the components in a home that require wiring: lighting, HVAC, security and entertainment systems and those energy-efficient appliances in your kitchen.

Whether you're building, remodeling or simply working on the upkeep of your home, an electrical contractor can design, install and maintain your electrical system and protect your home from electrical and fire hazards.

According to the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), electricians and electrical contractors can help you in four strategic types of electrical jobs: electrical problems, upgrades, renovation and saving energy.

Electrical Problems

Most home electrical wiring problems are the result of mistakes in installation or connection, inferior connections or inferior materials. Wiring doesn't “go bad” in the walls, though adverse conditions like flooding can affect it. These are among the most common problems you're likely to face at some point:

1. Flickering or blinking lights. These can be signs of poor connections along the circuit.

2. Outlets that don’t work. The receptacle device could be broken or the wiring connections to the device could be poor.

3. Faulty circuit breakers and electrical panels. Frequently tripped circuit breakers or a circuit that can’t be reset probably indicates a problem in the circuit.

Home Upgrade

When you're putting in a home office, automated environmental controls or a home theater, having your new electrical equipment installed by a professional can protect it and validate the warranty.

Home Renovation

Whether it’s relocating electrical outlets, putting in dimmers or installing a new dining room fixture, an electrician will do the job correctly. During a home reno, your electrical contractor can also check your home’s electrical panel and circuits to be sure that the system is functioning correctly and not overloaded.

Interestingly, in a long-term study of electrical wiring in older homes, the National Fire Protection Association found that when the electrical system was correctly designed and installed and still functioning within the environment it was intended to power, it was generally still safe, despite the age of the wiring and electrical components. However, older systems that had been modified improperly by homeowners or contractors were not safe and at a much greater risk for fires.

Saving Energy

If you want to go green by switching to energy-efficient lighting and lighting controls and EnergyStar appliances, an electrician can make your ideas a reality.

[Above] Adding undercabinet lighting to accent showcased objects is a great home reno project your electrician can easily render. The lighting can provide the focal point in any room where it's being used.
 Photo by Fredrick Ramond, courtesy of the American Lighting Association.