How Do You Get A License To Be a Los Angeles Electrician?

los angeles electricianBecoming an electrician is a wonderful career choice. It involves repairing, installing, replacement, and maintaining electrical components in businesses, homes, and buildings in general.

According to a BLS report, “the median annual wage for electricians was $55,190 in May 2018.” The BLS May 2018 data also includes that the annual wage of an electrician in California was $69,320.

You can get a license to be a Los Angeles electrician in any of the 5 licenses that fall under the electrical category for California.  Most of what is needed to acquire the license are similar, and we have outlined the differences below. The 5 licenses include;

  1. General Journeyman Electrician

A journeyman electrician is someone who works under an electrical contractor. The job description includes installing, maintaining, or constructing electrical systems under the National Electrical Code. To apply for a general journeyman electrician license (and any license on this list), you will need proof of,

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

This experience itself comprises at least 8000 hours of working under an electrical contractor. The application costs a fee of about $175 and is non-refundable. This license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

  1. Residential Journeyman Electrician

A residential electrician provides electrical services to residential buildings such as homes, hotels, and motels. This license is also issued by the DLSE. You will require proof of experience as stated in the quote above for a general journeyman license. The experience itself comprises 4800 hours of work under an electrical contractor. The fee for the application is also a non-refundable $175.

  1. Voice, Data, Video Technician (VDV)

A VDV technician is one that requires at least 4000 hours of work experience under an electrical contractor in installing, constructing, or maintaining electrical systems that “falls within the scope of the National Electrical Code, Articles 725, 770, (non-composite cables only), 800 (non-hybrid cables only), 810 and 820”.

The conditions for the proof of experience are the same as stated for the general journeyman electrician and so is the application fee of $175. The license is issued by the DLSE.

  1. Fire/Life Safety Technician

The job description is exactly what the name sounds like. A fire/life safety technician’s experience is quite similar to that of a VDV technician. It requires 4000 hours of working under an electrical contractor on systems that are “covered in the National Electrical Code (Article 760) and the National Fire Alarm Code”. The license is issued by the DLSE and fee for the application is $175 with no refunds.

  1. Non-Residential Lighting Technician

As a non-residential lighting technician, your job is to repair, service, and maintain all existing and non-residential lighting fixtures including the installation of retrofit upgrade fixtures. Your proof of experience provided should include at least 2000 hours of work experience under an electrical contractor. The license is issued by the DLSE and fee for the application is a non-refundable $175.

Should I Worry About Cloth Wrapped Electrical Wiring?

cloth cover wiringThe wiring in your home has a lot to do with your home’s electrical safety and capability. A professional electrician knows how to not only ensure this but to also see that your home’s electrical wiring is up to standard.

Cloth wiring is a subject that comes up more often than you would imagine because there’s hardly any shortage of old homes. Read on as we discuss what it means and more.

What is cloth wrapped electrical wiring and how to identify it?

Cloth covered wiring is exactly what it sounds like – wiring covered in a cloth material. This type of wiring was used mostly in homes built before 1960 and before plastic-covered wiring became the norm. At that time, cloth covered wiring was the standard. It was efficient and served the electrical needs of buildings. Some still do so today. This era also made use of the wiring system knob-and-tube. Both cloth covered wiring and the knob-and-tube system are outdated and not up to the standard of recent times. In many ways, both pose risks and homeowners with old homes are always encouraged to confirm the wiring they have.

You can identify cloth covered wiring easily at a glance. You can also lookout for a knob-and-tube wiring system that may indicate cloth-covered wiring. For even easier identification, here are some common brands of cloth covered wiring. You can inspect the wires to see the brand name;

  • Essex
  • Cablex
  • Cres-flex
  • Dutrax
  • Kflex
  • Narax
  • Roflex/Romex
  • Ammcoflex
  • Hatflex
  • Triangle PWC
  • Southwire

The risks of cloth covered wiring.

  1. Prone to damage and wear and tear.

As expected with cloth material, cloth covered wiring can be chewed on by rodents and even damaged by insects. This can lead to exposure of the wire and electrical arcing, which is dangerous. Cloth wiring is also prone to wear and tear due to brittleness. The longer the wear and tear go on, the more the wires within are exposed. This then poses the risk of electrical fires due to electrical arcing.

  1. Insufficient insulation in modern times.

Proper insulation is vital to prevent heat from building up in the wires and creating a fire hazard.  Cloth covered wiring is not effective at providing proper insulation. In modern homes especially, this lack of proper insulation can be dangerous.

  1. No grounding

Cloth covered wiring alongside the knob-and-tube system lack safety features like grounding. While this doesn’t make the wiring unsafe to use, it means there is no ground protection for your appliances against power surges.

With cloth wrapped electrical wiring being outdated, not up to recent codes and standard, and posing risks, it’s right to worry about them in your home. Some cloth covered wiring may be in good condition and reasonably safe, but only a professional electrician can determine that. If you live in an old home or suspect you have cloth covered wiring, contact a licensed electrician for an inspection.

The best solution to unsafe cloth covered wiring is rewiring the home to standard.

Where To Turn For Electrical Advice in Los Angeles?

electrician los angelesWe all use and love electricity. It keeps us warm, gives us access to entertainment, preserves our food, cooks our food, heats our water, upgrades our security, and so on. The uses and comforts of electricity are endless, but there are just as many risks involved.

More often than you would like, electrical issues might come up in the home or commercial building. These issues may require a professional electrician or could be easily managed by you. It’s also possible to avoid them by taking precautions. Regardless of how your electrical issues should be handled, it’s clear that you would always need a reliable source of electrical advice in Los Angeles.

Naturally, it’s best to turn to a professional electrician for electrical advice. The obvious reason for this is that a professional and licensed electrician is fully equipped and knowledgeable to provide accurate and effective advice.

Anyone else such as a friend who knows as little as you do about electricity is not a reliable source of electrical advice. The wrong information or approach to your home electricity can compromise the safety of lives and property.

The Electric Connection is a reputable electrical company that has served Los Angeles for decades. We make it easy for you to get the electrical advice you need with free of charge consultations via calls.

Our experts are always available to give you the advice you need and even over the phone quotes if a professional electrician is needed to solve the problem.

All electrical technicians with The Electric Connection are trained, licensed, insured, customer-oriented, and courteous. You can count on us for electrical advice in Los Angeles.

Here are some tips to maximize electrical safety in your home.

  • Avoid overloading your outlets. Each outlet in your home is designed to provide a specific amount of electricity, and plugging too many devices at once can lead to a fire or damage to appliances. Use an energy-saving power strip if you have a few things to plug in at once.
  • Extension cords can be helpful but can also become a safety hazard when used wrongly. Do not run extension cords through the house as that could lead to accidents in the home. If you discover you use or need extension cords often, contact a professional electrician to install more outlets in your home.
  • Repair or replace any damaged electrical outlet or component in the home. Don’t push aside any electrical component displaying faults or warning signs such as burning smells, fraying, cracking, and so on. Reach out for electrical advice or a service call.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. This saves you money on the electric bill and prevents accidents.
  • Always read the instructions for every appliance or electrical component before use.
  • Keep electrical appliances out of reach of kids and teach those old enough to understand the proper way to use them.

For more tips or free electrical advice, see our regular posts and articles.

What Does Overlamping Mean?

overlampingOverlamping is one of those words you might find strange as a homeowner. But it’s really just a term for describing a common electrical occurrence. Overlamping means fitting a lower-wattage fixture with a light bulb that has a much higher-wattage.

An example of overlamping is placing a 100-watt light bulb on a 60-watt fixture. The implication of this is that the wires connected to the fixture can melt and lead to an electrical fire.

The danger of overlamping

When it comes to electricity there are several do’s and don’ts that help to secure your electrical safety. Overlamping is one of those things you shouldn’t do. When the wiring and socket insulation overheats and melts, it increases the probability of electrical arcs. Electrical arcs are sparks that jump in the air from one wire to another. The electrical arcs, in turn, cause electrical discharge which finally leads to house fires. If you stop the fire from happening or pull out the bulb, the damage will still be done, and the entire setup will need a replacement.

How to find the recommended wattage

The recommended wattage on every light fixture shows the amount of power the fixture is designed to take. Modern fixtures often disclose this wattage. Some use NMB or NM indicated on the jacket of the wire. The letter B, in NMB, tells you that the cable is rated to handle the maximum temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. While NM shows that the maximum temperature the cable is rated for is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In simpler terms, NMB rated fixtures can accommodate higher wattage bulbs.

Older fixtures hardly indicate the recommended wattage. In this situation, it’s better to stick with the average 60-watt bulbs or even lower.

How can you fix overlamping

When overlamping occurs and you stop the implications of a fire early enough, shut off the power to that fixture or area of the home and call an electrician. Our electrical technicians at The Electric Connection will arrive on time and provide a quality replacement service.

Do I Need An Electrician for a House Rewire in Los Angeles?

electrician performing a house rewireHouse rewiring is a tough project. It is disruptive and demanding of funds and electrical experience. The answer to if you need an electrician for a house rewire is yes.

An electrician is the technician that determines whether you need a house rewire. But after this, many homeowners prefer to consider making a house rewire a DIY project. It’s only possible to do this if you have the knowledge and experience with electrical service.

Read on as we discuss the reasons why you need an electrician for a house rewire and other tips like the steps to take to rewire your home with or without an electrical technician.

Why you need an electrician for a house rewire

Statistics show that the average American homeowner has 9 unfinished projects on their to-do list. 55% of these homeowners will attempt to DIY the projects and only 31% of these end successfully.

While DIY culture is booming, it’s important to remember that there are several factors involved in projects like a home rewire. For example, safety precautions, appropriate materials, building codes, permits, and more.

DIY is risky in many ways. It’s risky to your health and life as well as that of others and your property. Electrical work is dangerous business and without the right precautions, experience, or knowledge shocks, electrocution, and even fires can occur.

Most electrical projects like a home rewire usually require permits that ensure safety protocols and codes are being followed. Performing such electrical work without a permit is against the law and comes with legal consequences. Also, if someone in the home should get hurt from such improper work, you could be persecuted.

Hiring a professional electrician for a home rewire guarantees your electrical safety and efficiency. It is also cheaper and compliant in the long run.

Tips for safely rewiring your house

  • Find out if you need to get a permit and do so.
  • Carry out an inventory to know the materials you need for the project.
  • Consider any additions you would like.
  • Create a plan that shows what will be done and when it will be completed, especially when working with an electrician.
  • Avoid damaging the existing infrastructure.
  • Hire an electrician familiar with working on older or existing buildings.

Stages of a house rewire

A house rewiring project usually takes two distinct stages. The first stage involves the circuits, wiring, cabling, and back boxes replacement.

The second stage involves light fittings, faceplates, and sockets installation.

How often should you rewire your home?

Unlike regular repairs and replacements, a house rewire is hardly needed often. There is no specific timeframe for rewiring you home as electrical systems have a life span that depends on factors like use. If your home is over 25 years old or up to, it will benefit from a rewiring project or updating. You should carry out electrical inspections every 10 years if you are a homeowner or every 5 years if you are a landlord to ensure electrical safety and efficiency.

If you think you may need a rewire in Los Angeles, call our office and we can send one out to assist your situation. Your Los Angeles electricians are standing by waiting to help!

Do I Need a Permit to Add a Subpanel in Los Angeles?

los angeles panel upgradeYour home’s electrical panel provides power to all electrical components of the home. But sometimes the electrical panel may need assistance and this is where a subpanel comes in.

A subpanel can be described as a mini electrical panel. It has the same structure and functions as the main electrical panel and is only present as a sub. A subpanel is connected to the main panel via three thick wires. It has separate bus bars for ground and neutral wires and may be labeled ‘lugs only’. In most cases, the subpanel isn’t the same brand with the main electrical panel.

Why do I need a subpanel?

Choosing to add a subpanel can be for different reasons because subpanels are not mandatory. A subpanel provides ample space when you need to install more appliances in the home, renovate, or simply lessen the load on the main electrical panel. They also provide convenience by reducing circuit wiring runs when you centrally locate the subpanel. This also helps to reduce a drop in voltage.

How does it work?

To add or install a subpanel, you must first determine the right sizing. It involves considering the power you need alongside what the main electrical panel has to offer. For example, you can easily add a subpanel of 100 amps if the main electrical panel is 200 amps or more. Bur when you have a 100 amp main electrical panel adding a subpanel of the same 100 amps in contradictory. The only solution will be to upgrade your main electrical panel first.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has specific rules when it comes to installing subpanels or main electrical panels. The electrical panels must have a minimum of 36 inches of clearance in front, 30 inches of clearance across the face, and 78 inches minimum above the floor.

In addition, you must mount the panel in a safe, dry, and easily accessible area.

Do I need a permit for this?

Most electrical work requires a permit, but for installing a subpanel the situation differs across jurisdictions. You would have to contact your city’s building and code department, Los Angeles Building and Safety, to determine if you require a permit before starting the installation.

Also, be sure to inquire about inspection schedules to know when you can call for an inspection of the work. Bear in mind that if you require a permit for this electrical work, it should only be acquired by the person who will be performing the work.

Tips for installing a subpanel.

Shut off electrical power to avoid accidents before you begin any electrical work. Determine where you will mount the panel. Seek professional help from a local electrician.

When to Contact a Los Angeles Electrician

If you think you may need to install or replace a subpanel in Los Angeles, give The Electric Connection a call today. Our team of dispatchers are standing by waiting to take you call. They’ll go over your project with you and get you on schedule with one of our expert electricians. Don’t delay!

How To Pull An Electrical Permit In Los Angeles

pulling permit in los angelesAn electrical permit is exactly what it sounds like. It is obtaining permission from the appropriate authorities to perform electrical work. An electrical permit is required for a lot of electrical works and it is the first step towards an electrical service that conforms to safety codes and standards.

When do I need an electrical permit?

You would require a permit for the following electrical tasks:

  • Installation or alteration of low-voltage systems like computer systems, security alarms, or stereos.
  • Installation or alteration of any permanent wiring or electrical device.
  • Running additional wiring, installing an outlet or fixture, converting fuse boxes to circuit breakers or installing a receptacle for a garage door opener.

Hence, electrical permits are necessary for most electrical installations, replacement, or repairs.

Who pulls or buys the permit?

Pulling an electrical permit falls on whoever is performing the electrical work. You cannot use a permit gotten by someone else or obtain a permit for someone else. If the person you hire asks you to purchase the permit for the work they will do, this is wrong and against the law and such permit is invalid. Licensed electricians and building owners are often the parties involved in pulling a permit.

If you are a homeowner who will do the work themselves, you will require a permit through a process slightly different from that acquired by a licensed electrician.

How to get a permit for electrical work?

Building Codes Division (BCD) field offices or the local building department in your location are the authorities who issue permits. To pull an electrical permit in Los Angeles, you will look to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). The LADBS enforces the Los Angeles building code, making sure all buildings are safe when issuing permits for building, repairs, renovation, and even demolition.

To get a permit for residential electrical work, you do not need drawn plans. There is an exception if the service involves up to 400 amps or more. Office staff or an electrical inspector can help determine that you have all the required information for the project. If your request is in order, you can usually leave with your permit. The permit fees are paid when the permit is issued.

According to LADBS, permits involving simple projects can be issued online or in a few minutes at the office; small to medium projects require a counter plan check and can be reviewed from one hour to within the same day; larger projects will be reviewed in weeks after a walk-in submission of the request.

A visit to the LADBS website provides direction on how to obtain the appropriate project permit either online or on a visit to the office.

How about inspection?

Inspections are vital and must be requested before the electrical work or no later than 3 business days after completion. There are penalties for failing to request an inspection. When requesting an inspection, you will have to provide details such as the permit number, homeowner’s name, type of inspection needed, date for the inspection, and project address.

Hiring a Los Angeles Electrician to Pull Permits

The Electric Connection has been in business for over 40 years providing expert electrical services to the Los Angeles area. Our in office staff and electricians work with inspectors every day. We know how to pull permits in Los Angeles and can help out if you need assistance. Give us a call today to start your next electrical project!

Relocating a 220 Volt Outlet in Los Angeles

220 volt outletA 220-volt outlet is the most powerful outlet in the home. It is built for power-demanding appliances, like ovens, dryers, and more. You can identify 220-volt outlets as outlets that are larger and different-looking than others. They usually have either 3 prong or 4 prong holes.

If you are renovating, remodeling, or moving any of these power-demanding appliances, you would have to move or install new 220-volt outlets to serve them.

Relocating or installing a new 220-volt outlet is always ideal because it sets the outlet behind the appliance, giving the room a clean look. It also helps to eliminate dangerous situations from using electrical extension cords.

Use the following steps to relocate your 220-volt outlet.

  • Safety first.
    Before you get started with the relocation, shut off the power to the area of appliances. Next, take out the outlet cover and remove the outlet from the box. You can use an electrical tester to confirm that there is no power in the outlet. If possible, let others in the home know you will be working with electricity and the power has to remain off till you are done. Try to use rubber-handed tools and even a high-voltage glove to be sure of safety.
  • Choose and prep your new location
    Choose the new location of the appliance and mark out the spot for the outlet on the wall in that spot. Cut open the drywall using the same dimensions as the existing outlet.
  • Remove the wires
    Run the wires from the existing location to the new one. Ensure you use a stud finder to identify the stud where the outlet will be mounted.
  • Mount the outlet
    Cut a new wire and run it from the old location to the new one. Then cut two inches of sheathing from the ends of the wire. Pull off half-inch of insulation from the black, red, and white leads on both ends. Nail the gang box for the outlet to the stud. Connect the wires that go into the old outlet’s gang box. Cover each with a wire nut and electrical tape. Run the opposite end of the new wire into the gang box, leaving up to 8 inches of wire coming in. Connect the black and red wires to the positive terminals and white wire to the negative terminals. Attach the mud rings to the gang box and slide the outlet in. Make the connection to the mud ring, place the new cover on the outlet, and screw in.
  • You can use drywall patches to patch the old outlet location.

    Before using the outlet you can reach out to an electrician to inspect the installation for safety reasons. You can also contact us for further inquiries.

    Call a Local Electrician

    Relocating a 220 volt outlet requires the help of a local Los Angeles electrician. The Electric Connection is just one phone call away. Give us a call any time Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm PST and one of our dispatchers will be happy to talk with you. They’ll get you on schedule with a professional electrician who can help complete your project in no time at all!

Rewiring a Los Angeles House Room by Room

los angeles house rewire by electricianDeciding to rewire your home does not come easily, and there’s no surprise why. Aside from the fact that home rewiring projects dig deep into your pockets, there’s the disruptive nature of the project to consider. But despite what seems like two distinct disadvantages, here are the many benefits that outweigh them and support your decision for home rewiring.

  • New wiring, new electrical power experience
  • A dependable electrical system
  • No more flickering lights, burning smells, or shortage of power
  • More room to add new appliances and remodel
  • Save on energy bills
  • Improved electrical safety
  • Reduce the chance of a power cut
  • Ensure electrical wiring lifespan
  • Prevent damage to your home appliances
  • Increase home resale value

While a home rewire is an option for many reasons, not just any homeowner should rewire their home. There are conditions under which a home rewire is needed and they include:

  • If your home is old, and the wiring is outdated
  • You have hazardous aluminum wiring
  • You are renovating
  • Your electrical system is unsafe with several faults, flickering lights, and so on.
  • Your electrical wiring has insufficient capacity

When you are experiencing any issues with your electrical system, it’s advisable to call on a professional Los Angeles electrician to inspect your wiring and point out the issue. The electrician will advise on if a home rewire is needed.

How to rewire room by room

  1. Make a list – Make a list of the appliances you have now and those you would like to add in a few years. It’s best to think as far as 25 years. This is because most rewiring projects are done every 2 decades. You can consider installations like:
    • Lighting and ceiling fans
    • HVAC
    • Kitchen appliances
    • Water heater
    • Devices such as wheelchair lifts and stairlifts
    • Home office electronics
    • Hot tub, spa, sauna or swimming pool
    • Entertainment systems
  2. Get an electrical building permit – The person who will perform the rewire project has to pull a permit before the work can start. If a rewiring project is carried out without the necessary permit, you might have to take it all down later.
  3. Get to work rewiring room by room – Shut off the electrical power to the home, disconnect circuits, and disconnect wires from electrical boxes. Draw a plan of your new circuitry. Cut holes in the drywall to install new outlets and switches. Run the new wires through the backs of the electrical boxes and staple lateral runs of wire with wire staples. Run the wiring for the new devices and connect each new circuit.

Attempting a rewiring project yourself is no joke, and it gets worse if you have no electrical experience or knowledge. It is always better to leave such demanding electrical services to professional electricians. Hiring a professional saves money in the long run, guarantees electrical safety, and is stress-free for the homeowner.

Be sure to test all your electrical components after the project and ascertain they are working fine. If you opted for DIY, ensure a professional electrician inspects the wiring room by room afterwards.

Contact A Local Los Angeles Electrician

The Electric Connection is proud to employee some of Los Angeles’ greatest electricians. If you need help with a house rewire in Los Angeles or the surrounding areas, be sure to give us a call. We have even created an online form where you can get a free house rewire quote delivered to your inbox in minutes. Don’t take a house rewire project on yourself, give us a call and we can help!

COVID-19 Update from The Electric Connection

Coronavirus Statement

All of Our Electricians Have Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19

los angeles coronavirus covidAs a valued customer or potential of The Electric Connection, we wanted to post and let you know that we are paying close attention to all updates from the CDC and local officials concerning COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”). Our highest priorities continue to include the welfare and safety of you, our customers, as well as our employees.

As electrical contractors, we have been classified by government agencies as a service business that should remain available to meet the needs of the public, so until circumstances change we will continue to remain open for business. However, we are doing our part to minimize potential risks related to any concerns with regard to Coronavirus.

We have addressed with our electricians the critical importance of safe practices and sanitation and have supplied our crews with face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other disinfectants. We have instructed all employees to stay home if exhibiting symptoms of the flu or cold, and have told them not to enter homes or businesses where customers are symptomatic of this virus. Additionally, we have instructed our employees to greet customers verbally but to avoid handshaking and to physically keep a reasonable distance from others while on any job site. We thank you in advance for your understanding in these matters.

Our office employees continue to be reachable by phone and email during our normal office hours of 8 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday by setting up a phone and computer communication system that allows our office personnel to work from home. Thank you for choosing The Electric Connection for your past and ongoing electrical needs and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have.

Los Angeles COVID-19 Resources:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information from CDC
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Symptoms & Testing from CDC
California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response