Lighting Your Way
When making electrical repairs in your home or workplace, hiring a professional electrician is the best way to ensure your project is completed safely and quickly. While it may be tempting to complete the job yourself, conducting electrical work without the proper training can create bigger problems down the line. Here are a few reasons why hiring a skilled electrician is key when it comes to upgrading your home or office:
1. Licensed Electricians are Properly Trained
A licensed electrician has gone through the testing and training necessary to perform the job correctly and safely. The training process involves years of study on the job and in the classroom, and the student must complete an exam at the end of the course. At AJ’s Electrical, our owners have more than 50 years combined experience, and we use this knowledge to advise and train our technicians.
2. Licensed Electricians Receive Permits
Some electrical projects require permission or permits before any work can be completed. Good electricians will never work without the necessary permission, and they’ll seek permits on your behalf. While this can delay the project at the beginning, ensuring all permits are obtained keeps your property safe.
3. Licensed Electricians Complete the Job Safely
Safety is an essential part of training when it comes to becoming an electrician. Our technicians will assess the worksite and identify any hazards that could harm you or your home. When the job is complete, you can feel confident that all safety issues have been resolved.
4. Licensed Electricians are Knowledgeable About Codes
Licensed electricians understand all the safety and building codes involved in your commercial or residential project. All work will be performed to code, eliminating the need for future repairs.
5. Licensed Electricians Provide Great Customer Service
A skilled electrician will always listen to your needs and exceed your expectations. The team at AJ’s Electrical has helped hundreds of customers update their homes and residences by providing excellent service and great customer care. We arrive on time and practice courtesy toward our clients. We’ll make sure you thoroughly understand the details of your project and address any concerns you have.
Hiring an electrical contractor is an important decision, so refer to these five tips when locating the right firm for the job. When you choose the licensed and experienced team at AJ’s Electrical, you can rest assured your project is being done right.
When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb it was an idea that was so brilliant it was in danger of catching fire. Literally. This quickly led to another invention: fuse boxes. Fuse boxes and their more recent replacements, breakers and breaker boxes, ensure that we don’t get a dangerous amount of a good thing. That “good thing” being, of course, electricity.
If you live in an older home, you may have an actual fuse box with good old-fashioned screw-in fuses. Since the 1960s, breaker boxes or breaker panels — aka distribution boards and panelboards — have come to replace fuse boxes. Their essential function is the same– to interrupt or break the flow of electricity when necessary.
Let’s get right down to the basics. The main component of a fuse is a metal wire or strip that melts when too much current flows through it, thereby interrupting the current. Once a fuse has done its job, it must be replaced or rewired, depending on the type.
These days, the only fuses most people put in their hands are the “blade” fuses found in our vehicles. We occasionally need to replace them by sliding the old one out and a new one in. Easy-out, easy in– in theory, at least (except for the contortions you have to perform under your car’s dash just to replace that one little windshield wiper fuse).
Whether used in your car, your appliances, or your older home’s fuse box, a fuse will never allow more current to pass through than what it’s rated for. Again, circuit breakers perform the same function. Fuses “blow,” breakers “trip” when too much current passes through for too long a period of time. Circuit breakers aren’t safer compared to the old fuse boxes but they are more convenient. They can simply be reset after they trip instead of having to be replaced or rewired.
If you live in an older home with an old fuse box (that is, a panel with actual fuses), you need one or two screw type fuses on hand to replace the odd one that blows. And indeed, this should happen only on the odd occasion. Old fuse boxes, typically 60 amps, are safe to use and fuse replacement isn’t dangerous. The problem is that many (if not most) old fuse boxes, as well as some breaker panels, are inadequate for the task. They weren’t designed to handle the heavy demand placed on the breaker boxes of appliance-filled modern homes.
Even the 100 amp breaker boxes that replaced the old 60 amp fuse boxes are often lacking when it comes to the number of circuits required in homes today. This is why the boxes in newer homes are typically rated at 200 amps. Today’s kitchens often have one circuit for the dishwasher, one for the garbage disposer, two for the countertop outlets, one for the lights, and another for the microwave and fridge. The modern kitchen alone can require as many circuits as that of an entire older home!
Whether you live in a home with an old fuse box one with a newer 200 amp panel, when fuses constantly blow or breakers regularly trip, it’s a red flag. Try to distribute the load more evenly throughout your home by separating the low-power loads between different circuits by connecting them to separate outlets. Higher loads, such as dryers, space heaters, microwaves and other kitchen appliances should be on their own circuits if possible.
Once you’ve separated the loads, you shouldn’t need to reset a breaker or replace a fuse more than once.
For safety sake, don’t let it slide. If you’re tempted to do any type of electrical work yourself, please read our recent blog, The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Electrical. Fuse boxes and breaker panels are best left to a professional electrician.
If you’re planning to build or upgrade — whether it’s a commercial building or your home – it’s important to know what the legal requirements are. The BC Safety Standards Act has very specific rules as to who can perform electrical work, what certification they need, what licenses they require, and what is needed to ensure the electrical work is done according to the electrical code.
When is a permit needed? What certification is required by those performing the installation or repair? Does the finished work need an inspection? The answers to all these questions are based on the requirements of the “electrical code,” which is, in actuality, three complementary codes: national, provincial and local.
A typical home or business owner can’t expect to be familiar with all the changing legal requirements of the code. This is but one reason why it’s important to hire an experienced professional who stays abreast of all regulatory issues. That’s part of our job at AJ’s Electrical– and then to put the knowledge to safe and practical use at your home or business.
At the local level, the City of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities regularly release bulletins and advisories on electrical regulations. A look at the electrical permit portion of the city’s website reveals that for a building under construction or renovation, a permit is required for all but the most minor electrical work.
Every code-related advisory serves a purpose. To a layperson, all these regulations appear frustrating and confusing. But their goal is simple: to prevent injuries and save lives. These local requirements complement provincial and national regulations. Again, safety is the goal– and it’s part of an electrician’s professional education to stay on top of regulations at all levels.
In our recent blog The Dangers of Do-it-Yourself Electrical, we urged homeowners, primarily for safety’s sake, not to take matters into their own hands when it comes to electrical repairs. There are simply too many things that can go awry. The same urgent advice applies to new construction and upgrades. If you’re building or renovating a home or commercial building and thinking that you can handle the electrical part of things yourself, think again. And read the blog we just mentioned.
And if safety isn’t enough reason, there are financial reasons for trusting a professional electrician to ensure adherence to electrical codes. If your company or business is violating any of them, you could face huge fines, or even potentially be shut down. Homeowners aren’t immune from fines, either, so don’t take a chance.
Often violations are simple problems such as an exposed wire, but having these small problems corrected by a licensed electrical contractor will save you worry and make sure the job is done to code. As professional, and highly experienced electricians, we at AJ’s Electrical Service and Repair know the codes, so you don’t have to “de-code” anything– or put yourself, family, employees or customers in harm’s way. We’ll take care of your electrical repair or installation from start to finish.
AJ’s proprietors Shawn Willis and Darren Martin have 50 years of combined experience in residential and commercial installation, repair and ensuring our work is “up to code.” Call us at 604-359-1915 or contact us here on our website.