Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below, or scroll down to see some common questions
1. How do I find a good electrician?
2. Are all electricians licensed?
3. How much electrical work should I attempt on my own?
4. Is it necessary to cut my drywall in order to do electrical work?
5. What is the National Electric Code?
6. Where should smoke detectors be installed?
7. Is aluminum wire safe?
8. What causes lights to dim?
9. What is an AFCI?
How do I find a good electrician?
When hiring any contractor, it is a good idea to interview several, and do your homework. You may want to ask for references from previous customers and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any complaints.
To help you choose the best contractor, the following is a list of questions you may also want to ask before hiring any electrician:
Is the company licensed?
Is the company insured?
Are employees covered by workers compensation?
Will they pull a permit for your job (in order to have a government inspector check the job to make sure it meets code, you will need to have a permit. A legitimate contractor will pull your permits through their company; they should NOT ask the homeowner to pull a homeowner’s permit)?
Are all workers on the job licensed or registered with the state(all electricians are required to carry their license or registration card on their person at all times – ask to see their license when they show up at your job)?
What kind of warranty do they offer?
Will they need money up front (beware of any contractor who asks for more than 10% up front)?
Who is the company’s Master Electrician and what is his/her title (This question is important, because some Master Electricians are not involved in the daily operations of the company)? back to top
Are all electricians licensed?
There are some people who market themselves electricians, even though they hold no electrical license, nor have any formal electrical training. Some companies also use cheaper, unlicensed, unregistered help in order to save money in service positions (this is not legal, but sometimes happens).
How much electrical work should I attempt on my own?
Truthfully, we do not recommend that unlicensed individuals attempt much on their own. Most states allow people to do whatever they want in their own home. It is important to decide how much you are willing to risk to save money, as even the smallest job could cause a safety hazard. In many jurisdictions of Kansas, homeowners can pull their own electrical permits for work in their homes. However, some homeowners insurance will not cover damage or fire caused by the electrical work of an unlicensed person. If you are planning to attempt electrical work on your own, be sure to check with your homeowners insurance before you start. Doing your own electrical work may end up costing you much more that it saves you.
Is it necessary to cut my drywall in order to do electrical work?
It is not always necessary to cut drywall in order to install new electrical. At Specialized Electric Company, we have innovative tools and techniques to prevent drywall cutting whenever possible. However, there are some instances when it cannot be avoided. We will always let our customers know if it is necessary to cut their drywall and will neatly remove and replace whatever is necessary to complete the job. When a professional drywall finisher patches and textures the wall, it will look good as new!
What is the National Electrical Code?
The National Electrical Code is a nationally accepted guide that is produced by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency). It contains the minimum standards for fire and personal safety for electricians, electrical contractors, engineers, and inspectors. It is a book that every electrician should reference often, and be familiar with its code articles. It is nearly impossible for the NEC to list all of the applications for each electrical job, so the code is designed to give minimum standards. This means that an electrician who strictly uses the electrical code without using his/her expertise and judgment of how electrical systems operate may not provide you with the highest quality service. Therefore, a good electrical contractor will exceed the code requirements in order to ensure that your electrical systems run as smoothly and efficiently as possible
Where should smoke detectors be installed?
Generally, there should be at least one smoke detector installed on every level of the home, and it is recommended that an additional detector be installed in each room designated for sleeping. However, you should check the code in your area, as some local codes vary.
Is aluminum wire safe?
Aluminum is a fine conductor of electricity, and generally is not unsafe. However, every point of connection of the wire can be a potential fire hazard if not connected properly. Typically, it is not practical or necessary to replace aluminum wiring in a house. However, we recommend that properly installed UL listed devices be put in at every switch, receptacle, light fixture, etc. Additionally, all connections at the electrical panel(s) should be treated with an antioxidant compound and checked periodically.
What causes lights to dim?
If your lights dim when an appliance comes on, you may want to check to see if the lights are on the same circuit as the appliance. Since most appliances draw a lot of electrical current when they start up, they should usually be on a dedicated circuit in the main panel. If all of the lights in your home are dim, the first place to check is with the local utilities, as there may be a problem with their service feed coming into your home.
Your lights may also dim if the wiring in your home is not large enough. If the lights dim and brighten, this could indicate a more serious problem. It is possible that there may be loose connections, loose wiring, failing switches, failing light sockets, etc.
What is an AFCI?
The AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) is a device that will shut off a circuit in a fraction of a second if arcing develops. This is an important safety device, since the current inside an arc is not always high enough to trip a regular breaker. The National Electrical Code requires that all branch circuits that supply 125V, single phase, 15 and 20 Amp outlets installed in bedrooms be protected by an AFCI.