As a homeowner, your home's electrical system is vitally important. However, most electricians would prefer that you remain in the dark when it comes to certain home wiring secrets. By learning these insider tips, you can take control, save money, and ensure your home's electrical safety.

Learning the Basics

Before diving into the juicy secrets electricians keep under wraps, it's important to learn some electrical basics first. This knowledge will allow you to better understand the reasoning behind the tips provided later.

Common Electrical Terms

Familiarize yourself with common electrical terms like voltage, current, circuits, breakers, and fuses. Know the difference between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). Understand what amps, watts, and ohms mean. Having a solid grasp of the fundamentals puts you in a better position when talking shop with electricians.

Electrical Safety

Electricity can be extremely dangerous if handled improperly. Some key safety tips include:

Electrical Panels

Understand how your home's electrical panel works. Locate the main breaker that controls power to the whole house. Identify what each circuit breaker controls. Having this knowledge prepares you for many of the tips below.

Money Saving Secrets Electricians Don't Want You to Know

Now that you have a basic understanding of home electrical systems, you're ready to learn insider tips electricians would prefer homeowners didn't know.

DIY Electrical Work

Electricians obviously want you to hire them for any electrical work in your home. However, there are many projects a knowledgeable homeowner can safely DIY such as:

This work might require pulling permits, but you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars doing it yourself.

Buying Supplies

Electricians markup supplies they purchase for home wiring projects. You can realize major cost savings by buying supplies yourself at home improvement stores. Things like wire, breakers, receptacles, and junction boxes can all be purchased by homeowners and provided to electricians before work begins.

Comparing Bids

Always get at least 3 bids from different electricians. Compare not just their quoted prices but also their specific recommendations. Get itemized breakdowns of labor charges vs material charges. Make sure all electricians are bidding based on the same scope of work.

Negotiating Rates

There is often room to negotiate electrician hourly rates and material markups, especially during their slower seasons. Don't be afraid to make a counteroffer to their initial quote. Worse case they say no.

Safety Secrets Electricians Don't Want You to Know

While the previous tips focused on saving money, electricians also don't want you to know some of these safety secrets.

Improper Electrical Work

Sometimes electricians take shortcuts or use improper methods while wiring a home. Look for any exposed wire nuts, junction boxes without covers, undersized breakers, or outlets without ground wires. Report any suspicious observations to your local building inspector.

Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring was used in many homes in the 60s and 70s. However, it presents fire risks if not properly remediated. Electricians may claim your home's aluminum wiring doesn't need to be inspected or repaired. Get a second opinion.

Knob-and-Tube Wiring

This outdated wiring from the 1920s can be dangerous. Electricians may insist it's "fine" when in reality it should be completely replaced. Don't allow an electrician to simply pigtail knob-and-tube wiring to modern wires.

Grounding Issues

Proper system grounding is vital for safety. Some electricians take shortcuts here as well. Check that your electrical panel and outlets are properly grounded before accepting any work.

By learning these home wiring secrets electricians would rather homeowners didn't know, you can save money, avoid unsafe electrical work, and make more informed decisions. While electricians provide valuable services, you now have insider tips to ensure you aren't taken advantage of. Stay vigilant!