Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

Commercial Electrical Services

What a commercial electrical expert can do for a business

A commercial electrical firm is a valuable partner for a property owner to have, as they maintain the efficiency and reliability of the building’s electrical systems. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, commercial buildings spent 17 percent of their energy on lighting and another 17 percent on heating and cooling. A commercial electrician will ensure these systems operate as economically as possible, with energy efficient technologies and frequent maintenance.

Commercial electricians are more than efficiency experts, though, as they can install new electrical systems, troubleshoot issues with existing systems and protect the safety and comfort of the building’s occupants with proper practices.

Commercial buildings need a commercial electrician

Commercial electrical work is usually more involved than residential work, and electricians operating in the commercial space must possess a wide range of skills. That’s because commercial buildings pose additional challenges that aren’t present with residential properties. For example:

1. Building size – Commercial buildings are usually much larger than residential properties, so an electrician must work harder to maintain its operation. This is true whether the building is under construction or if it is already in place. Commercial electrical experts must have their workflow practices well-established to keep up with everything.

2. More electrical systems – Commercial buildings operate most of their devices and systems simultaneously. This means greater loads are put on the system, as well as more sustained loads. This forces commercial electricians to manage electrical flow precisely, to ensure every device and piece of equipment remains operational.

3. More electricity to handle – Commercial buildings are supplied with additional energy to meet their greater power demands. Where a residential property has single phase power, typically split up into two “legs,” commercial properties utilize three phase power, which consists of two 120 volt legs and a third “wild” leg that delivers 208 volts, or something similar.

Commercial electrical experts must account for this additional power when setting up electrical systems. Special insulation and outlets, for example, are needed to accommodate the greater power demands of commercial equipment.

4. Other cabling systems are present – More and more businesses are investing in their IT and AV technology, and that technology requires additional cabling to function. This means installing network and data cables, and many commercial electrical experts provide this as a service.

5. More planning needed – Commercial electricians are often tasked with providing detailed assistance with special projects, like those involved with hydraulics or engine work. An electrician may require additional education or training to manage highly technical projects like these. Commercial electrical projects are also tested and vetted with greater precision, so knowing how to create effective schematics is a must.

Commercial electrical work is also expected to be modified and maintained regularly, so any wiring must be installed in accessible areas. All of this takes additional foresight and planning, which places an additional burden on the electrician to get it right.

Commercial electricians must have solutions in place for the above challenges. Whether running Romex through ducting, diagnosing a problem with the HVAC system, setting up electrical panels for new construction or working with heavy commercial machinery, a commercial electrician is who everyone will turn to for the complex work.

What to look for in a commercial electrician

All electricians should be thoroughly assessed before hiring, but this is especially true of commercial electrical experts. The greater job demands that come with commercial work, as well as the team-based nature of commercial property maintenance means your commercial electrician will need a history of excellent performance. Here’s what to consider:

1. Proper licensing – This cannot be emphasized enough. Commercial electrical work is risky enough with the proper experience. It is extremely dangerous without it. That’s why your commercial electrician should have the proper licensing, as this communicate a level of competence on the electrician’s behalf. In Texas, before an electrician can bid on most commercial jobs, they must have a contractor’s license. This is a business license, not a professional one, but electrical contractors must either be master electricians themselves, or employ at least one master electrician.

To attain master electrician, apprentices must first acquire journeyman status. To do that, an apprentice must pick up at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training under the supervision of a master electrician. If they pass the proper exams, an apprentice may become a journeyman. From here, they need to hold their license for two years, pick up an additional 12,000 hours of on-the-job experience and pass additional, more rigorous exams. They may then apply for a master electrician’s license.

2. Experience with similar projects – Even experienced master electricians specialize a bit, so there are electricians out there who are perfect for your job. To find them, ask about the electrician’s client history, and see if they are willing to provide references. If they aren’t, look elsewhere. When studying previous projects, note the neatness and organization of the work. A telltale sign of experience is wiring and cabling that is neat.

3. Works well with others – Commercial electrical experts must interface with other teams often, especially if the building is under construction or renovation. This includes working with engineers, architects, project managers and construction teams. A commercial electrician must be ready and willing to cooperate with other teams and ensure they are always able to operate efficiently.

4. Willing to provide emergency services – No one can predict exactly when an electrical system will fail, but when it does, it’s a big deal for businesses. Every lost minute means money out the door, unhappy clients and frustrated employees. As such, you should find a commercial electrician who is willing to respond immediately to emergencies. It’s nice to have the fallback option, and it communicates confidence in the quality of work provided.

Commercial buildings can waste thousands of dollars every year on electrical inefficiencies and lost worker productivity, but working with a commercial electrician is an easy and affordable way to mitigate these issues and keep the business moving in a positive direction.

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