Not all projects require a permit, but most electrical works do. In Los Angeles, it’s easy to pull an electrical permit if you meet all the requirements. Since pulling permits differ from state to state, we have put together the Los Angeles guide you need.
An electrical permit is an approval you get from your building department to go ahead with electrical projects in a home.
In Los Angeles, you will need electrical permits for any kind of electrical works. These include work related to;
Installations of lighting including exits lighting and security lighting.
Installations in hazardous locations.
New, expanded, or replaced electrical items
Installation of a complicated electrical system as determined by the Department, such as Emergency, Legally Required Standby, Fire Alarm, and Gas Detection Systems.
The Permit Process
To pull an electrical permit in Los Angeles, you must first file electrical plans with the indicated department. These plans and the first step are referred to as electrical plan check. Only when this plan check has been approved or deemed not required will a permit be issued.
Electrical permits in Los Angeles can also only be issued to an electrical contractor with the appropriate license, the property owner, and or an agent representing either the contractor or the property owner.
Why it’s important to pull a permit when necessary?
Pulling a permit in Los Angeles may seem like a hassle to you, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid certain unfriendly situations. Electrical work carried out without a permit is considered illegal. Such unpermitted work can cause even more problems in the future if the option of a resale comes up. There’s also no assurance that the work was done up to code.
Where can I obtain the permit in Los Angeles and how much time is involved?
You can obtain an electrical permit from the local Building and Safety District Office serving your area. For online permits, you can go through Los Angeles County’s Electronic Permitting and Inspection (EPIC LA).
For simple projects that do not require a plan check, you can get an express permit when you apply online.
For small-medium projects, a plan check can take 45-60 minutes and as the projects get larger, plan checks extend to even weeks.
After obtaining the permit, the permit expires within 12 months if work has not started from the time it was issued.
It’s possible to get an extension on your permit, but that might require an extra fee.
How to make obtaining an electrical permit in LA easy
Start by hiring a professional and licensed electrician for your electrical needs. It’s legal, easier, and safer to let this experienced technician pull the permit for your project. All you will need to do is likely to bear the cost.
Licensed electricians can get permits faster and pass inspections easily too. They are also updated on current codes, and this saves you any future problems.
If virtual events were hardly a big deal before, they sure are now. Several guidelines to help protect everyone from the pandemic have made it impossible to enjoy most events in public as we did before. Consequently, many scheduled events have been canceled, some postponed, and others going virtual.
In Los Angeles, there are still many things that give a sense of normalcy. Our safe and efficient electrical services at The Electric Connection are one of such. Plus a wide range of virtual events available through various channels or media.
LA Food Bowl
The food bowl you’ve always known involved gathering together over a meal. It is targeted at celebrating restaurants and promoting a sense of community. With COVID-19 restructuring the way we do everything, it’s not possible to hold the food bowl event as before. Hence, a virtual version was created alongside a donation program to hold the LA Food Bowl where you are. The event is scheduled for October 17th and features a Cook-a-thon with 30 chefs and celebrities. There’s also a tasty takeout list to keep you satisfied and help local restaurants through this time.
We Can Teach You That
Traveling during this time is possible, but traveling safely is what you need to do. LA Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds will show you How To Travel Safely (If You Must) in a virtual event come October 27, 5:00 pm. This event is part of a new virtual series – We Can Teach You – hosted by the LA Times. You can stay updated with this virtual series to gain new and useful knowledge. This travel safe course will include;
How to reduce risks as you travel post-pandemic
How to fly safely
Day trip ideas
Real-life stories/experiences traveling since March
Advice from local and state officials
Update on travel restrictions both locally and internationally.
Eat See Hear
Just as it sounds, this virtual show is about a good meal and a good watch or show. The Los Angeles Times kicks off another season of Eat See Hear. You will receive highlights for food trucks and restaurants across LA with the perfect menus for a SHOWTIME Sunday lineup.
Festival of Books, Stories, and Ideas
For the last 25 years, the LA Times has brought the Festival of Books, Stories, and Ideas to book lovers, authors, and others interested. Now, due to the pandemic hosting a physical event won’t be possible but that isn’t stopping this 25th festival of books from happening. The event has gone virtual beginning October 18th and lasting over the next 4 weeks. You can follow the festival on social media and secure your virtual seats for this free event.
More and more events are scheduled every day to ensure you keep going and not miss a thing.
You certainly love the confidence and convenience of plugging in any appliances you need whenever you need them. You love this so much that it becomes easy to forget that your electrical panel cannot give more than its capacity.
According to experts, electricians, recent electrical codes, and homeowners who have had unique experiences, the standard capacity for an electrical panel is a 200 amp service. If you have less, then you probably require an upgrade. Here are all the reasons why.
Amps and Your Electrical Panel
The industrial grey box in that safe, dry area of your home distributes electrical power across circuits that serve you. This box is the electrical panel or breaker box, and every panel has its dedicated capacity. Depending on how much power you need, your electrical panel can be between 100-400 amps.
Old homes often used 60-100 amps panels because they had fewer electrical demands. Using similar sized panels in these modern times can be insufficient for your home needs. It can lead to fire hazards, lights out, faulty appliances, and much more.
Electrical panels often work at a certain maximum capacity. This helps to ensure the safe working of the panel. Going over this safety threshold can not only cause your breaker to trip, but can also lead to a fire caused by overloading circuits/outlets.
With an upgraded 200 amp panel, you get enough room for dedicated circuits. This further improves electrical safety and allows you to run an increased number of appliances and more power demanding appliances without your breaker tripping.
Switching to a 200 amp breaker is one of those good decisions that helps you prepare for the future. With this service upgrade, you can add new devices, remodel your home, and do much more without worry.
Everything is just easier
Another solid reason to upgrade to a 200 amp service is the increased efficiency you get to enjoy. Everything is simply much better and easier with a 200 amp panel. The panel is easy to reset and repair with compatibility for GFCI circuits.
How to know you need an upgrade
Breaker tripping frequently
Dimming lights, especially when appliances are turned on
Buzzing or crackling sounds.
Breaker won’t reset
Always confirm the exact source of your electrical issues from your electrician.
You are right to worry about suspicious buzzing or humming electrical noises around your home. Electrical systems are designed to work quietly, offering you power and efficiency with no hassle.
Your electrical panel controls the power supply in your home while keeping you safe from electrical hazards. Hence, any annoying or worrying sounds from the panel could indicate problems of different kinds. See what these noises could be and what they might mean below.
A light buzzing sound
By a light buzzing sound, we mean a faint buzzing sound from your breaker. It’s not the type to keep you up at night or be highly noticeable. The cause is often current flowing through the breaker, like water flowing in some direction. This light buzzing sound is generally normal and harmless. But, if it gets louder or involves clicking and other horror-movie sounds, be sure to call an electrician.
Medium humming sounds
This sound is louder and more obvious than a light buzzing sound. It can take various forms such as a sizzling noise, sparking, a clicking noise, or a humming breaker. So you can hear sizzling sounds with occasional sparks and this certainly means something is wrong with the circuit breaker. The cause may be frayed and loose wiring which is incredibly dangerous and an electrical hazard. It is necessary to call an experienced electrical technician to replace and repair the wiring quickly.
Loud and continuous buzzing sounds
Now, this is what keeps you up at night. Constant loud buzzing sounds can be disturbing because they are loud. The cause often stems from the breaker not tripping when it should, and this, in turn, indicates that the breaker is bad. Your electric breaker shuts off the power supply during a power surge to protect your home. But when it fails to do this the flow of current to the wires increases leading to a buildup of heat, the loud buzzing sound, and an electrical hazard. Circuit breakers go bad for several reasons such as wear and tear and a faulty panel. This humming noise should not be ignored, and an electrician should be called immediately.
A buzzing and humming sound is normal if…
The sound isn’t loud as we have described above.
If the buzzing sound starts right when your AC comes on but stops once the appliance is working smoothly.
Trying to solve this electrical issue yourself can be very dangerous. Therefore the first and safest way to solve humming and buzzing noise from your electrical panel is to call a licensed and experienced electrician.
A safe electrical system is invaluable to every home and if you have a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel (FPE), replacing it is the best solution to ensure your electrical safety.
Federal Pacific Electrical Panels are commonly found in homes between 20 and 70 years old. These panels were first introduced by Reliance Electric in the 1950s and quickly became installed in millions of homes across the country. It was soon discovered that FPE panels were unsafe and present a great risk to homes that use them.
Your home’s electrical panel distributes electrical power safely across all circuits. It is also built to ensure protection by tripping off in situations like a short circuit, circuit overload, power surge, and so on. If the breaker cannot do this, the chances of an electrical fire starting increase dangerously.
How an FPE breaker puts your home in danger.
According to reports from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Pacific breakers may fail to trip during an overload or short-circuiting. FPE breakers have recorded high rates of not tripping when necessary for your electrical protection. It was also discovered that the breakers tend to enter a lock-up. A lock-up describes a situation where a breaker that has tripped once will never trip in the future regardless of dangerous conditions like an electrical overload.
Studies estimate over 2,800 electrical fires caused each year by a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel that didn’t trip.
Most of the unreliability of the panel is due to the use of cheap materials in its manufacture and their limited original design.
Distinct risks and problems posed by a Federal Pacific breaker also includes;
The crowded wires often found within the panel box.
The breakers to do not switch off even in the OFF position.
Arcing occurs at the bus.
The Federal Pacific breakers trip unexpectedly when the dead front cover is removed.
Breakers are often not tightly connected to the bus bar.
Electrical inspectors always encourage homeowners to replace and not repair a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel. Electricians may also hesitate or refuse to fix problems with these panels because they cannot guarantee the results or your electrical safe afterwards.
Identifying a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel
You may have a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel if your home is as old as between 20 to 70 years. Since the company no longer exists, you can’t purchase a new FPE panel. It can only be present if it was installed in older homes. You can identify an FPE panel with the labels or logos on the front cover. The common appearance is an orange and white label.
You can also look out for the name Stab-Lok written inside the panel or on the breaker. A signature red label across the front of the panel is another indication.
The cost of replacing a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel may vary across electricians, location, and other factors. The replacement can generally cost anywhere from $1500 to $2000, and even more.
The replacement will include any necessary repairs, rewiring, moving the panel location, and installation that are up to recent codes.
When something goes wrong with your electrical system, the first person you consider calling to fix the problem is an electrician.
From homeowners to business owners, the terms electrician and electrical contractor seem like the same thing. However, contrary to this popular belief, an electrical contractor is not the same as an electrician. Read on as we discuss the difference between your Los Angeles electrical contractor and electrician.
An electrician is an individual qualified tradesperson. They may be employed by an electrical contractor or become self-employed as an electrical contractor.
Who is an electrical contractor?
An electrical contractor is a business person or firm that provides specialized electrical construction services. They handle the installation and maintenance of electrical systems and are also responsible for making sure these systems work effectively and safely.
Electrical contractors work in any settings such as a residential, commercial or industrial setting. Their work hours vary widely depending on what is needed for a project. Electrical contractors are classified by the type of work they do. They also hold the required licenses and insurance and can employ an electrician/electrical worker. Electrical contractors can also provide input into the design of a project. It’s crucial to help avoid mistakes during their work.
Electrical workers or electricians are not allowed to perform electrical services for the public unless they are under the employment of an electrical contractor.
Job duties of a Los Angeles electrical contractor.
There are several tasks to be completed by an electrical contractor. The overall tasks include design, installation, maintenance, customer service and administrative work. The customer service and administrative work of an electrical contractor often include scheduling appointments with customers, completing regulatory requirements, taxes and permits applications, and so on.
An electrical contractor is also tasked with inspecting electrical equipment, stringing wire, replacing worn electrical parts, bending conduit, lifting heavy objects, electrical repairs, handling high-voltage power transmission and distribution lines, handling low-voltage installations, such as wireless network, telecommunications, security systems, and more.
Electrical contractors coordinate electrical crews and work with other contractors like home builders. They are reliable and take their work seriously as they represent a business or electrical company.
Electricians are independent
While an electrician and electrical contractor can perform some same functions, an electrician remains an individual worker without the license and insurance to provide his/her service to a community.
Hence, electricians often work for electrical contractors, or directly for individuals or companies. You can hire an electrician directly, but to get a reliable, licensed, and insured electrician, you can always go to an electrical contractor.
The Electric Connection is a leading Los Angeles electrical contractor, we bring you the best electricians who are experienced, licensed, and insured to provide quality electrical services for any electrical needs. Contact us today.
Some electrical issues are more common than you think. They occur in almost every home with electricity and while they may be no one’s fault sometimes, it’s often because your electrical system is subject to getting worn out. Read on as we discuss the most common electrical issues in Los Angeles homes and how to handle them.
Broken light switch
A broken light switch in your Los Angeles home can be due to any number of reasons. It could be due to damage because the switch is old, improper wiring and circuit faults, or the switch may have been overridden.
To fix this, turn off the circuit breaker and remove the faceplate with a screwdriver. Turning off the circuit breaker earlier would help you identify which one is broken. Ensure there is no electricity in the wires and disconnect the switch to fix it.
Type of electrical issue – Harmless.
Cut extension cords
Extensions often come in handy in your Los Angeles home and can also easily get damaged. To fix a cut or damaged extension cord, cut off the old plug and peel back the insulation jacket to expose the wires. Strip each wire and connect/screw them to the new plug. Twist each wire and screw black to gold, green to green, and white to silver at the back of the plug. Close the plug.
Type of electrical issue – Harmless.
This horror scene trick can never be good news. Flickering lights often indicate a more serious problem such as poor connections, sparks, overheating, and more. They should be looked at and fixed as soon as possible. Contact an electrician if you experience flickering lights.
Type of electrical issue – Hazardous.
That unexpected zap when plugging in a device could either be no-problem news or bad news. Test the appliance by plugging into another outlet. A repeated shock indicates the appliance might have a fault or problem with your wiring. Call an electrician when you experience electric shocks to find the cause and solution of the problem.
Type of electrical issue – Possibly hazardous.
Loose outlets can be easy to spot when you’re trying to plug in something. If it’s bad enough, you might have the outlet hanging out of the socket or wall. Turn off the breaker to stop power from coming through the outlet. Use a voltage tester or power testing tool to confirm there’s no power in the outlet. Remove the cover plate and add new outlet shims until the outlet can fit firmly on the wall. Screw the cover plate back in.
Circuit overload is one of the biggest causes of frequent breaker tripping. This means that there are not enough power points in your home electrical system. Overload can lead to more than normal trips, which can be dangerous.
Calling an electrical technician is the best solution, as your electrical system might need an upgrade or repairs.
Your home’s electrical panel is the source of electricity to your home. It is where the power from your utility company is distributed across circuits, outlets, and all areas where they are needed in the home.
All too often, homeowners try to DIY some electrical services and the short answer to the topic question is yes. The long and safer answer, however, is no.
An electrical panel should only be replaced for reasons such as the following;
The panel is faulty
The panel is old/ you live in an old home
It’s not up to code
You need to add a new appliance, renovate your home, or need more power.
Why an electrician should replace an electrical panel?
Replacing the electrical panel can involve rewiring the home as well. It also means having to deal with permits, a dangerous amount of electricity, and so on.
An electrician should be one to replace or repair an electrical panel because they are trained, experienced, and knowledgeable on the project. An electrician knows the safety measures to put in place to protect himself and your home while working on such a demanding project. Electricians are updated on the latest National Electrical Code information. They are insured to cover any injury or damage gotten from the project – which is unlikely for a homeowner.
Taking directions or advice on the process from online sources still means you are unsure or uninformed about what you’re doing and this could lead to fatal injuries and fire.
What you need to know before replacing your electrical panel?
You will need a permit. A panel replacement is a serious electrical project that often requires the technician performing it to pull a permit.
In some states, it’s illegal for a homeowner to do electrical works themselves. You would be unable to pull a permit in this situation. You would also need to get the final work inspected.
It goes further to when or if you intend to sell your home. Some states require that homeowners provide a list of all modifications or repairs done to the home without a permit.
Before you take on replacing the panel yourself, it’s important to first check with your local laws and know what’s legal or required.
Learn the safety measures involved and understand the steps well before starting the project.
While many homeowners can replace their electrical panel, most choose to leave it to the professionals. The cost and hassle of hiring an electrical technician for the project are worth it when your safety is on the line. A professional replacement guarantees a reliable system and no conflicts with the law. You can get an inspection, sell your home smoothly, and enjoy your upgraded electrical system as you want.
With experienced electricians such as The Electric Connection, a panel replacement can be affordable and stress-free. We do our best to make this less worrisome or intrusive on your part. Start by scheduling an inspection to confirm if your panel should be replaced or repaired.
Becoming 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;
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is an Electrical Contractor License?
Electrical contracting is a wide and successful industry. It has a value of over $130 billion annually. There are over 70, 000 electrical contracting companies and over 650, 000 electricians in the United States. They serve both residential and commercial electrical needs. An electrical contractor license is a license that allows the licensee to hire other licensed electricians, bid for electrical projects, and apply for relevant permits for jobs. Almost every state requires an individual electrician or company to obtain this license before they can provide electrical services.
Obtaining this contracting license varies between states. However, the individual electrician must be a master electrician. If it is a firm or company applying for the license, then they must present a master electrician who will be responsible for the contracting activities of the firm.
Requirements to Become an Individual or Business Electrical Contractor
Complete electrical apprenticeship to become a journeyman electrician
Meet all your State’s requirement to be a certified journeyman
Earn a master electrician license
Apply for the electrical contractor license and fulfill the requirements
Eligibility for an electrical contractor license
For an individual to be eligible for this license you must meet the following criteria;
You must pay the required fees- this refers to the application fee and license fee which may vary across States
Have insurance with a reputable insurer
Commit to an educational and safety training
Complete the necessary forms
Possess the qualifications, training, and experience of a qualified electrician
You must agree to comply with all the State guidelines, legislative requirements, and the codes of practice
The projects a licensed electrical contractor can handle
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS A licensed electrical contractor can take on huge or small tasks within a commercial and industrial setting. These include working on schools, hospitals, office building, factories, and much more. Electrical contractors can bid competitively for these tasks and can also be hired as permanent members of the design-build team. The services they will provide to these buildings include the design and installation of panels, electrical systems, wiring, electrical equipment, and more.
RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS Residential projects are the most lucrative business for electrical contractors because homes have evolved to need more customized electrical services. There are integrated communication systems, security and entertainment systems in modern homes. An electrical contractor can perform electrical upgrades, installations, wiring, renovation projects, and more in residential settings. Some projects may require permits which the license enables the contractor to obtain.
SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE JOBS An electrical contractor can provide this to both residential and commercial settings. The contractors would need to service, maintain, and repair electrical systems. Sometimes such tasks are complete within a day or hours and have a flat rate cost.
The Electric Connection is a licensed electrical contracting company. We hire only the best electrical technicians to work for you. We are professional about our tasks and guarantee a satisfying service each time. You can call on us to handle any electrical tasks you might have. Our electricians ensure they get it right the first time, to save you cost, stress, and time.
Living in the bustling city of Los Angeles can be exciting. It’s a city with everything from being able to chase your dreams to the lazy days you are just looking to have fun. It’s almost possible to forget the high costs of living that comes with all the benefits.
Homes in Los Angeles pay up to 23% more for electricity bills compared to the national average. While solar energy solutions are becoming more popular, the larger part of the population still has to consider ways to save money on their electricity bill in LA.
Thankfully, your favorite experts at The Electric Connection have effective tips ready to help you slash those bills in half.
Use a programmable thermostat
You’d be surprised how much of your electric bill has to do with your heating and cooling system. With a programmable or smart thermostat, you can set temperatures to 78 degrees when you are home during summer, 68 degrees during winter, and turn it off when you are away. This helps you save up on up to 10% on heating and cooling.
Turn off your lights
Turning off your lights when they are not in use or you are away can both help you save on the bill and get paid. Residents in California can earn money through OhmConnect when you agree to cut down on power usage a few times in a week. You earn based on how much power you save. To help you get higher numbers and save on your electricity bill in general, you can switch your lights to LED bulbs.
Use nature’s gift
When possible ventilate your home by opening up your doors and windows. Doing this more often helps you cut down on heating and cooling bills.
Thanks to continuous breaks in technology, there are several appliances on the market equipped with energy-saving features. Look out for an Energy Star (R) symbol which shows the appliance is compliant with standard energy-saving codes.
We are all guilty of leaving unused appliances plugged in at some point. Regardless of if you turn off the switch or not, phantom charges that can accumulate end up having some significance on your bill.
Timers and Power Strips
It won’t be easy keeping up with all plugged in devices, especially those mounted on the wall. Save up on electrical energy by bringing in power strips and timers. These tools allow you to set a schedule for the connected devices to be shut off from power. It comes in handy all the time, but more importantly when you are not home or asleep. A good example is if you need to run your pool pump for some hours. Using a timer ensures you can set the time for the pump to work and be turned off.
There’s also more to save on electrical energy when you get an audit from a professional electrician. The electrician can give more tips suitable for your home.