Philadelphia's rich history means that many of the houses in the city and in the metro area have been home to decades (if not centuries) of families. And while the charm and character of an older home is undeniable, it's important to be aware of possible problems with the house's major systems.
No matter how adept you are with home improvement tasks, electrical work should never be done by a layman—it's simply too easy to be seriously injured. Keep yourself and your family safe by relying on the expertise of a licensed electrician.
Service and Repair by Philadelphia Electrician
Electricians in Philadelphia are well-versed in the quirks of older homes as well as the national and municipal codes and safety standards that their work must meet. Whether you need a faulty outlet investigated or a charger installed for your new electric vehicle, a Philly electrician can handle the job.
Electrical services can vary in scope from minor fixes to complex service upgrades. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your home's electrical system, schedule a service visit with your electrician as soon as possible. Electrical problems don't get better with time, so waiting won't work in your favor.
Take note if you see any of the following signs that a pro needs to investigate:
- Light switches and/or power outlets that spark or buzz
- Current disruptions (power surges and flickering lights are the most common signs), oftentimes when you use a household appliance
- Electrical safety devices (GFCI and AFCI breakers and outlets, circuit breakers, and fuses) that trip or fail often
When outlets and light switches spark or make odd noises, there's likely a problem either with how the device was installed or with the level of electricity traveling through the circuit. In either case, the problem needs to be fixed to avoid a fire hazard.
Current disruptions and tripping breakers can also indicate a problem with the level of electricity in the home's circuits. In older homes that haven't been remodeled recently, the issue is often that the amperage of the home's electrical service isn't high enough to accommodate the electricity needs of today's lifestyle.
Newly constructed houses are typically equipped with 200-amp service; older homes, on the other hand, often have 100-amp service (or even less). Your electrician will be able to tell you exactly what type of electrical service you have and whether an upgrade is a worthwhile investment.
Electrical safety devices
If your home is relatively new (or has been recently updated), you're likely protected by several electrical safety devices. Older homes, however, may be missing some important safety features. Your best bet is to schedule an electrical safety inspection and see where you stand.
AFCI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) outlets and/or panel devices. Electrical arcs (the result of two conductive materials being bridged by electrical current) are a leading cause of residential electrical fires, so AFCI devices are now required in all new and remodeled homes.
If your home was built prior to 1999 and hasn't been extensively renovated, it probably doesn't have AFCI protection either at the outlet level or at the main panel. Your peace of mind is priceless, so talk to your electrician about this important update.
GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets and/or panel devices. GFCI devices help prevent electric shock and electrocution by shutting off power to a circuit if the device detects any variance in the amount of current flowing through the circuit.
GFCI devices have been part of the National Electric Code (NEC) since the 1970s, but they're now required in more parts of the home than ever before. Talk to your electrician to determine if you're missing GFCIs in important spots.
Tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs). If you have small children in your family, tamper-resistant receptacles (also called outlets) are an important safety feature. TRRs look virtually identical to standard outlets, but TRRs are constructed with a plate behind the outlet openings. This plate only moves when equal pressure is applied to both prong slots at the same time.
The NEC requires TRRs in all newly constructed and renovated homes. If your home doesn't have them, your electrician can easily make this update.
The Best Picks for Electrical Companies in Philadelphia
Reliable, experienced electricians can be difficult to find, and that's why the survey team at Best Pick Reports reaches out to Philadelphia homeowners each year to identify the best electrical contractors in your area.
All Best Pick companies are fully vetted on an annual basis to ensure that they provide high-quality work and outstanding customer service. We verify all state-required licenses and insurance every year, too. Our rigorous company qualification process means that the companies we recommend are indeed the best of the best, and we're proud to present that information to you in a format that is simple and easy to navigate.
When you hire a Best Pick Philadelphia electrician, your job will be done right and your experience will be stellar—we guarantee it!