I'm glad you dropped by. If you are planning an electrical project in the near future and would like some advice on it, I'd be happy to share some of my 35 years of experience with you.
Below you'll find postings on service upgrades, generator installations, and how to chose a contractor. There are a number of electrical contractors in our area who have built a reputation for good work and I'm happy to be one of them. Let me know if you've found anything helpful, or if you have further questions. And you don't need to be a customer to ask!
Every day I see the results of people who are "handy" doing electrical work in their own home or for others. Loose wiring connections, undersized wires, oversized fuses are the result.
Why hire a qualified electrician?
While you are permitted in Ontario to do any work in your home, insurance companies may not cover damage resulting from your cost saving measures. Your brother-in-law may not be conversant on practices for residential work if he's trained as an industrial electrician or maintenance worker. Work must still be inspected by law, and inspection fees for homeowners are substantially higher than for registered contractors.
Many times material is wasted by hobbyists, who are not experienced in laying out circuits. Recessed light fixtures are often improperly installed.
Resale home value is very much affected. The home inspector can spot amateur wiring at the panel, and switches and receptacles at odd locations and heights are a give away that renovations were not done professionally, a definite red flag to home buyers.
I've posted a couple times on my companion blog, Dave's Skilled Workers Blog, on the new Ontario College of Trades recently instituted by the McGinty government. One of the first issues to be tackled is the 3:1 ratio of journeymen to apprentices. In my day the ratio was 1:1, and with all the concern about boomers like myself retiring, there is no way to graduate new journeymen, considering the attrition rate between sign-up and completion, without dealing with the ratio. I don't know the history on why it was changed, and would be very interested in any assistance in finding out.
It's astonishing considering all the media coverage of "skilled worker shortages" that we're dealing with this at this time. The suggestion has been made that we should import tradesmen to fill the gap. No, let's get Ontario young people into apprenticeships!
This is definitely an issue the public needs to be aware of.
Or maybe you are contemplating a electrical project and you would like some advice. If you live in the area of Orillia or Gravenhurst, Muskoka, then the specific information I'm providing may be helpful to you. Please scroll down through the posts, and if you find something of help, please let me know by email or comment below.
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Here's a link to ESA's page of instructions for generator connection;
I'm amazed at how many people still think a generator can be connected to a home's electrical system during a power failure by simple backfeeding a dryer receptacle, for example. As ESA says, you must use a manual or automatic transfer switch for a permanent installation. In you are using a portable generator a manual transfer switch can be used or a dedicated generator panel where certain essential circuits are re-routed from the main service, and the feed from the generator (which can be made on the outside of the building)can be made safely.
Any other "temporary" connection has the potential to seriously injure a lineman and or damage other service equipment served by the same power lines. As always, it is best to hire a qualified contractor and have the work inspected by ESA.
Here's a couple more sites with good information on portable generator connection:
Apart from doing electrical work in your own primary residence, in Ontario no one can perform any electrical work or have work inspected apart from a licensed electrical contractor. ESA, or the Electrical Safety Authority, is the body with the authority to set the rules governing all electrical installations. They have a very informative website that explains the reasoning behind regulating the trade.
Some small renovation contractors feel comfortable doing their own electrical installations, and at one time any licensed electrician could take out a permit. No any longer; ESA lists builders who have been taken to court for attempting electrical work without being qualified.
How do you become a contractor? First, you must serve an electrical apprenticeship and once licensed, keep your annual fees paid up. Then, you take a masters course for about a thousand dollars, and pay $60.00 annually to keep your masters active. Then pay in excess of a thousand dollars annually for liability insurance. Then you may apply for and meet the conditions of a contractors license, at about $400. annually in advance. Then, apart from personal injury insurance, WSIB, GST, Revenue Canada, Vehicle costs, etc, you are ready to start doing electrical installations.
I can not tell you if contractor licensing has had the desired effect of controlling the electrical trade, dealing with unqualified people doing electrical work. If the amount of material being sold by big box stores is any indication, the answer is no. Either way, my overhead as a contractor doubled and the costs must be passed on by me and every other legitimate contractor in Ontario. I do, though, strongly encourage using a reputable contractor. Your brother-in-law might very well be a handy person, but if he isn't a licensed contractor who has paid his dues and has an ESA/ECRA number in the format of 700****, he doesn't have the right to help you with your wiring.
Here's a brand new blog where I can pass on to you the local homeowner the benefits of my 35 years in the trade. It won't be a DIY advice forum, but will aim at helping you plan your projects wisely, and decide on service upgrades, home re-wiring or new home projects. We'll also discuss choosing a contractor and the pros and cons of various choices you may be challenged with. I hope you find it informative and welcome yoou questions and comments.
Once you are ready to go ahead with you project, give me an email or a call. I'll be glad to discuss it with you.