When your business needs to bring in an electrician for repair or installation, you might be wondering if just any contractor can do the job. Perhaps you love the electrician who’s worked on your house, but does he have experience as a commercial electrician? Is it even safe or legal for a handyman or building super to alter the electrical system?
The short answer is that only a licensed electrician should touch commercial wiring and electrical fixtures, and you absolutely want that person to be someone who works on commercial wiring regularly.
How Commercial Wiring Is Different from Residential
All electrical systems are designed with safety as the top priority. Being safe while supplying adequate amounts of power in a home and at a business are two very different questions.
Homes have wiring that runs 120 volts of power to all outlets and light switches, except for large appliances that require 240 volts. Either way, residential wiring is “single-phase” and supplies just that voltage.
A commercial electrician has to deal with a different beast: three-phase wiring. The bundled conduits of wiring include two 120-volt wires and a 208-volt wire called the high leg. It can also be called the wild leg or the bastard leg. As you can imagine, you want an experienced commercial electrician handling something like this!
Three-phase commercial wiring allows for energy-efficient power to most appliances along with the total 448-volt capacity for larger loads necessary in businesses operating computer networks, commercial HVAC equipment, and other high demand applications.
If your business operates out of a home or building that has been converted into commercial use, you definitely want a commercial electrician to install three-phase wiring and make any retrofits or new installations.
A Good Commercial Electrician Is a Problem-Solver
With some exceptions, residential wiring is all about the same. You have the service panel, the circuits that run to the outlets and lights, and maybe some outdoor wiring for lighting and security. You need a knowledgeable electrician at home, but a contractor who only works residential will never touch the kinds of wiring and fixtures found in a commercial building.
A commercial electrician knows how to safely run wiring that can handle high peak demand and constant use. This calls for both experience and creative problem solving:
- Running exposed wires at a ceiling
- Wiring for commercial HVAC
- LED lighting retrofits for office lighting
- Emergency lighting, exit lighting, and outdoor signage lighting
- Security camera and exterior lighting wiring
- Computer cabling and data/telecom wiring throughout a building
Most businesses need their electrical systems to work 24/7 with absolutely minimal downtime. Getting there starts with a commercial electrician in Santa Rosa who knows their way around offices, warehouses, restaurants, and industrial buildings.
Talk to your electrician about their experience with commercial wiring, and be wary of letting a landlord send a handyman out—even if it’s just to replace overhead lighting or run cabling to a new location. The best electrician for a business will know how everything works together to maintain safe, reliable, and energy-efficient power for your business.
Contact us at Spyrka Electric if you’re trying to find a licensed commercial electrician in Sonoma County with the right combination of experience and skill.