Commercial vs. Residential Electricians
When you depend on electricity to keep your business moving, you need to know your wiring is safe to use and properly installed. How do you know if your electrician has the right training and knowledge to handle the job? Here are some differences between residential and commercial electricians.
Where Do You Find Commercial Wiring?
Commercial or industrial electrical wiring refers to the electricity used in retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, office buildings, department stores, shopping centers, police stations, clinics, beauty salons, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and more.
Apartment buildings, nursing homes, and hotels often have a mix of residential and industrial wiring.
How Does Commercial Wiring Differ from Residential Wiring?
There are four principal differences between them.
Backup power: Some commercial operations are legally required to have standby generators. These include hospitals and first responder stations. Commercial electricians need experience installing and maintaining these large generators.
Power levels: Most homes use single-phase power systems, which require two 120-volt wires and a neutral wire. Commercial wiring requires three-phase wiring, which uses two 120-volt wires and one 208-volt wire. Large industrial buildings may use two 277-volt wires and one 480-volt wire.
Placement of wiring: Most residential wiring is placed behind walls, under floors, and other places where it’s out of sight. Commercial wiring is usually out in the open where technicians can easily reach it to make repairs.
Protection levels: Most residential wiring uses sheaths to cover the wiring and protect people living in the home. Commercial wiring uses special insulation known as thermoplastic, highly heat resistant (TTHT) coating. It is heavy and thick enough to protect wiring from moisture, chemicals, and abrasion.
Code and safety requirements: The National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements are different for residential and commercial projects.
Special Training for Commercial Electricians
All electricians get education and training in their field. This training is intensive, and it is usually offered by trade schools, vocational schools, or union apprenticeship programs. Some electricians have degrees in electrical engineering.
Becoming an electrician is difficult. It requires intelligence, top-notch math skills, manual dexterity, and excellent eyesight. It also takes courage and a cool head because electricians work with dangerous equipment.
While all electricians get the same training, some develop specialized experience on the job. Electricians who work on commercial projects have extensive experience working with designers, engineers, and architects. They can understand the role of wiring in the overall project, and many can draw their own electrical installation plans.
What Is a Master Electrician
All electricians must be licensed. They begin as journeymen, which means they have passed the state licensing exam.
Some electricians take specialized exams that certify them as master electricians. Master electricians can work on any residential, commercial, or industrial project.
Do Commercial Electricians Need a Special License?
When you hire an electrical contractor, ask to see their license. The license has two parts. The first part uses the letters A, B, or C to show the size of the project the holder can legally work on. A contractor with a class “A” license can take on any project of any size.
The second part of the license tells you what kind of contracting work the license holder can perform, for instance, carpentry, painting, or electrical work.
If you’re looking for a commercial electrical contractor, look for a company with a class A license, like SESCOS.
Experience You Can Count On
At SESCOS, our technicians are highly skilled and experienced. They have the knowledge to take on your biggest, toughest commercial jobs. We have been keeping Loudoun County businesses powered up for almost 50 years. Contact us for all your commercial electrical needs.