Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to Install an Electrical Panel

Installing an electrical panel is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. This is a job for a professional electrician. A mistake with this project could cause serious injury or death to you and your family. Electrical codes vary, but many require that a journeyman or master electrician handle the installation.

Step 1.
Hire a journeyman electrician. Your local community paper may have contractors who advertise regularly. Ask around to see if you know anyone who has used an electrician and was happy with the work. Or you can try an online locater service. Regardless of the way you choose to get started, be sure to have multiple contractors come to your home and bid on the job.

Step 2
Ensure that whoever you hire is a licensed journeyman or master electrician. Don't take his word for it. Check credentials, references and the Better Business Bureau. Check your local and state codes to see if you need a permit.

Step 3
Decide whether you also want him to do the wiring or just install the panel. This can make a big difference in the cost and the amount of time it takes to complete the job. Be prepared to answer questions. He will probably ask if you are installing a new panel or replacing an old one.

Step 4
Make a list of what you need connected to the panel. Things to consider are rooms, appliances, central air conditioner and furnace. You should also determine what voltage/current is running to your home.

Step 5
Secure a written contract. Make certain you understand how long the job should take and get an estimate of the cost. Ask about any contingencies that could come up.

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