Your safety is the reason there are so many different codes and so much ‘nit-picking’ municipal regulation of electrical systems. We appreciate both their concern for public safety and the frustration it can cause for homeowners, both of which we share! For homeowners, codes take to a whole new level the importance of a supervisory body that holds electricians to standards.
It is definitely not easy for even licensed electricians to stay on top of all the different changes in all the different codes. It is, however, their profession, and unless they do it, they fail to qualify for re-certification. Since it took so long to be licensed in the first place, they definitely do not put all that in jeopardy, either. Instead, they absorb the continuing education.
Code Compliance Matters
Generally, despite how it sometimes feels, municipal codes do not change just because someone enjoys rewriting them or is “staying busy” to justify their employment. They change, we admit, because more is understood every day, as lessons are drawn from past mistakes. They change – it is true – with materials and technologies and close examinations of data related to house fires and insurance claims for property liability.
Codes frustrate absolutely all of us – homeowners trying to sell and electricians trying to service – but they are, truthfully, for your safety and ours. We have to replace GFCIs with AFCIs not because someone decided they should start with “A” but because electrical arcs are better understood. That understanding is what we bring as electricians to ‘code compliance matters’, but it is no surprise that most homeowners do not share it.
Unfortunately, not all licensed electricians share it either. Homeowners need to select an electrician from a pool of certified licensed candidates. That way, you can be sure it is really safe for everyone – along with the garage, the laundry room, bath, and kitchen. Codes have a purpose and while some homeowners may think they are inconvenient, they are there for all of our safety.
Most homeowners would not consider installing their own indoor electrical systems, recognizing the importance of having a professional handle the task. Yet, strangely, many homeowners attempt to install outdoor lighting themselves, as if electricity weren’t involved. While that may be the case for low budget, low performance, solar powered decorative lamps, it is not so for a comprehensive outdoor lighting system.
Gaining in popularity, outdoor lighting is becoming a feature sought by homeowners and prospective home buyers alike. Extending the usefulness of decks and yards well into the evening, pretty outdoor lights beautify the home’s exterior and make garden parties possible after dark. Outdoor lighting, however, not only adds charm to the home and illuminates attractive landscaping, but also significantly improves home security.
Indeed, enhanced security is one of the primary benefits of outdoor lighting, sharply reducing the likelihood that a home will be burglarized. Lighting at windows and doors as well as the illumination of potential hiding spots behind bushes and hedges discourages would-be intruders. This practical reason for having a licensed electrician install an outdoor lighting system allows homeowners to indulge their simple desire for the beauty it brings.
It is important to involve a professional electrician in the installation of any outdoor lighting system for several reasons. Cables need to be buried, not only because they are unsightly but because if they can be seen, they can be cut by intruders. Transformers have to be appropriate to the total wattage provided, and distances to fixtures have to be properly calculated. Timers and photosensitive cells that activate lights with darkness have to be properly wired, as do motion activated security lights.
Nonetheless, the safety and security it adds to the home is well worth it, especially given the beauty it brings to decks and yards. Well-lit paths and steps reduce the chances for slips and falls, both by family members and strangers. With so many benefits, the popularity of outdoor lighting is easy to understand, even if trying to do it yourself makes no sense at all.
Most of us have felt a mild electrical shock at some point in our lives. Whether from faulty wiring of a lamp or the childlike inexperience that leads us to pry stuck toast loose with a knife, we have been shocked. Those extremely mild jolts of electricity are enough to underscore the importance of safety precautions being taken by electricians.
Working with electricity every day, professional electricians need to be extremely conscious of potential dangers and take appropriate precautions. The condition of the workplace and an electrician’s tools are of paramount concern, along with proper footwear and rubber grips on tools. Proper safety precautions can be the difference between life and death for electricians, so their value can hardly be overstated.
Keeping Tools in Good Condition Safeguards Electricians
First of all, an electrician needs to keep their tools in excellent condition, in order to avoid accidents that can happen if they malfunction. As subject to wear and tear as any equipment, electrical cords can fray, wires can pull loose, and cutting edges can dull. Careful inspection and maintenance of tools and equipment goes a long way to protecting electricians.
Secondly, because of the importance of their condition, an electrician’s tools should be kept locked up. Whether because one is fascinating or because it comes in handy for something the homeowner or a co-worker is doing, tools left out get used. The only way an electrician can be confident of the condition of his tools is to lock them up when they’re not using them.
A Clean Workplace Is a Safer Workplace
Finally, it is important for the work area to be orderly and clear of things that can constitute hazards. A walk-around to look for cabling, tools, and wires left on the floor is a good safety precaution both before and after a job. Not only do homeowners appreciate the cleanup because it improves the appearance of the house, but their safety is also protected.