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Is Your Contractor Doing It Right?

How a Homeowner Can Know if their Contractor is Great or a Fake – Both the homeowner and the electrical contractor should never assume anything, but rather ask questions and make sure every detail is agreed on and understood.


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How to Wire a GFCI Outlet
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How a Homeowner Can Know if their Contractor is Great or a Fake
[ad#block]Electrical Question: I’m having a contractor extend an existing covered patio out another 15 feet.

Is this configuration OK?

Background: Scott, a Homeowner from Katy, TX

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Scott.

Is Your Contractor Great or a Fake?

Homeowners and (some so-called) Contractors

Is Your Contractor Installing the Right Electrical Wiring?

Is Your “Contractor” Legitimate?
Find out for sure if the worker is really a contractor, and I mean a Licensed Contractor. Ask to see their business card and check them out with your state contractors licensing agency. If your contractor is performing work without a permit, then I would start asking more questions, after all, it is your house!

Making Sure Your Project is Done Right

More about Electrical Contractors and Homeowners

[ad#block] Home Improvement Question: Hi, my question is about the electrical community standard practice, regarding electrician error vs homeowner change-order. How would you have handled this with the homeowner?
In a whole-house gut renovation rough-in, the electrical contractor’s  assistant begins wiring outlets in back bedrooms. The old boxes, installed 40 years ago, are only 6″ off the floor, assistant pops new boxes in same spots. After six outlets, the homeowner arrives to say “you didn’t ask where I wanted them! I want them 22″ from the floor. You should have asked, since 6″ is so odd.” (There’s been much conversation about how homeowner plans to grow old here, with ADA accommodations.) Drywall gone on exterior walls in one of three rooms rewired, insulation in miserable shape, the electrical contractor informed all drywall is coming down (so no reason to avoid cutting another hole.) EC raises outlets, rewiring each since first wire not long enough (coming from underneath). The homeowner feels this is electrical contractors error, electrical contractor says nothing about extra charges to correct it.

Homeowner overpays EC along the way. Seven months later (yes), when violations finally being cleared, electrical contractor refuses to refund extra, in part by charging homeowner additional 300+% of original outlet costs to raise them. (original charge $25 each, move charge 5 hours labor at $85/hr, plus $45 for extra wire)

How would you have handled this with homeowner? Thanks!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Scott.

I really do not like to get in the middle of a problem like this, however here is my suggestion to avoid problems between the homeowner and the electrical contractor for a home improvement project.
The project should start with a well defined set of plans and an approved contract with the homeowner which reflects the set of plans.
Changes with anything having to do with the contract should be submitted in the form of a change order which should be approved and signed by the homeowner before the change is made.
Problems with the contractors employees and the work that is being performed should be brought to the attention of the contractor right away and dealt with.
If the homeowner is not happy with the project then the final payment may be withheld until the situation is taken care of.

In short, most home improvement problems can be avoided with good communication. Both the homeowner and the electrical contractor should never assume anything, but rather ask questions and make sure every detail is agreed on and understood.

Electrical Wire for the Home
How to Install Ceiling Fans and Wiring
Step-by-step pictures – Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide – Light and fan switch variations.

Wiring Ceiling Fans
How to Install Ceiling Fans
Take the mystery out of ceiling fan wiring. Ceiling Fans are a great way to lower your energy bill and brighten up one of your favorite rooms.

Electrical Circuits
Electric Circuit Listing
The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.

Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

Find an Electrical Contractor
Electrical Contractor Directory

For more information about Rewiring a Home
Rewiring a Home
Rewiring a Home
Rewiring a Home
Great ideas for home electrical rewiring that will add value to your home and bring it up to the current safety and energy efficient electrical codes.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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