Electrical issues at home are troubling, and while you might be tempted to investigate the cause on your own, the smarter decision is to call an electrician. You should also defer to an expert when you update a light fixture or make any major changes that could impact your home’s electrical service.
These recommendations apply regardless of where you live, but if you’re in the Boston area, they’re especially important. Many of the homes in the Boston area have been standing for well over a century, and their major systems may or may not be up to current-day safety standards.
Since out-of-code electrical systems can have devastating consequences, call in the pros to make sure any electrical work in your home is done safely and correctly.
Services Offered by Your Boston Electrician
Boston electrical contractors are well-equipped to handle almost any service, from straightforward light fixture installations to large jobs, such as whole-house rewiring or panel upgrades.
Ask your Boston electrician about the following specialty services:
- Knob-and-tube wiring removal
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detector installation
- Landscape and security lighting installation
- Audiovisual wiring
- Generator installation
To make sure that the work is done correctly and to code, any electrician you hire should hold a current Massachusetts electrical contractor’s license.
Electrical safety devices
Regardless of the age of your home, it should be equipped with a few important electrical safety devices.
1. GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets. These outlets will shut off if they detect any variance in the levels of electricity flowing through a circuit. This prevents electrocution, and it also prevents wires from overheating and causing a fire due to too-high levels of electricity.
The current National Electrical Code (NEC) requires GFCI outlets in all newly constructed homes and renovated homes. If your home was built prior to the 1970s, contact your electrician to advise you on where GFCI outlets should be installed.
2. AFCI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) outlets. AFCI outlets shut off power to a circuit if they detect dangerous electrical arcs. Electrical arcs occur when electricity connects two conductive materials—in homes, this is usually two wires. The current of electricity between the two points carries a lot of energy and is very hot, which can cause a fire.
In the US, AFCI outlets have been required in bedrooms since 1999. The 2008 version of the NEC expanded that requirement to include living spaces, and the 2014 NEC expanded the use of AFCI protection further to include virtually every room in a home. Arc-fault protection can also be achieved with a special breaker on the home’s main electrical panel.
3. Tamper-resistant receptacles (TRR). Tamper-resistant receptacles are designed to protect children from injury that can be caused by sticking small items in conventional receptacles, or outlets.
On a conventional outlet, both outlet slots are open at all times. On a TRR, the outlet slots are protected by a pressure-sensitive cover that will open only when equal pressure is applied to both slots at the same time. Newly constructed homes will already have TRRs, but if you’d like to make your home a little safer and upgrade your outlets to TRRs, it’s an easy and relatively inexpensive task for your electrician.
Trying to act as your own electrician is incredibly dangerous (unless you’re a trained, licensed electrician, of course). And on top of avoiding death or serious injury, another good reason to stay away from DIY electrical work is the risk of your work not meeting current code.
Professional electricians are well versed in the NEC and any local variations, and they know which jobs require municipal permits and inspections. Even if a fix appears straightforward on the surface, let the experts do the work.
If you notice electrical problems around your house, call a Boston electrician as soon as you can. Even issues that seem minor can worsen quickly, and since the majority of your electrical system is hidden behind walls, the progression can be almost impossible to see.
Keep an eye out for these key signs that something is wrong:
- GFCI outlets, AFCI outlets, and circuit breakers or fuses that trip consistently
- Buzzing or popping noises coming from light switches or power outlets
- Light switches or power outlets that spark, are hot to the touch, or smell odd
- Signs of current disruption, such as power surges or flickering lights, when you use a household appliance
Tripping outlets and breakers, current disruptions, and noisy or sparking outlets and switches are all indications that something is amiss with the amount of electricity in your home’s circuits. Too much electricity in an unprotected (or improperly protected) circuit can cause wires to overheat and combust, causing an electrical fire. Always call an electrician to determine the cause of the problem.
The Best Picks for the Best Boston Electricians
Finding a good, experienced electrician isn’t always easy, and that’s why the Best Pick Reports survey team reaches out to Boston homeowners every year to identify the very best electricians in your area.
All Best Pick companies are fully vetted on an annual basis for high-quality work and excellent customer service, and we verify all state-required licenses and insurance each year, too. Our rigorous company qualification process ensures that the companies we recommend to you truly are the best of the best, and we’re proud to present that information in a simple, easy-to-navigate format.
When you work with a Best Pick Boston electrician, you can rest assured that your project will be taken care of the right way. We guarantee you’ll be pleased with the experience from beginning to end!