ESFI OFFERS TIPS ON SELECTING AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR
(Arlington, Va.) — As fall brings cooler temperatures, many homeowners turn their attentions to indoor renovations and repairs. In this "do-it-yourself"-oriented society, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) cautions homeowners to think twice when it comes to electrical work.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), statistics indicate there are 40,000 residential fires annually caused by problems with electrical wiring systems, claiming more than 350 lives, causing thousands of injuries from electric shocks and burns and resulting in more than $2 billion in personal property damage.
"Electrical accidents are uniquely unforgiving; even a small mistake can have fatal results," said ESFI Executive Director Michael G. Clendenin. " If you don't know what you're doing, consider hiring a qualified, licensed electrician."
To help consumers select a qualified electrical contractor, the ESFI offers these tips:
Check the phone book, ask friends and family, or call the Better Business Bureau for local contractors. Beware of door-knockers -- most reputable companies don't need to go door-to-door for work.
Interview contractors before you hire them. Are they certified, licensed, bonded and insured, including coverage for property damage and workers' compensation? Is the contractor a member of a trade association?
Have more than one electrical contractor give you an estimate. Small jobs should be estimated over the phone. Larger jobs should be estimated with an hourly rate.
What kind of work do they do? Large or small jobs? Residential or commercial?
Will a permit be required to do the work? It should be under the contractor's name, not yours, and posted at the job site.
Get references from other homeowners and then call them to ask about their satisfaction with the work done.
Electricians generally do not repair holes cut or drilled in walls, trenches dug or landscaping that is disturbed in the course of the job. Know in advance what work will be left to be done after your electrical job.
These and other electrical safety tips are available at the Foundation's website at www.electrical-safety.org
or by phone at 703-841-3229.