An estimated 51,000 fires are caused by home electrical fires every year. About 30% of these home electrical fires were caused by the ignition of wire or cable insulation. Note, any attempt to rectify these electrical faults may leave an untrained person a victim of electrocution. There are more than 400 electrocutions that happened annually as a result of DIY fixing of electrical issues. When you are in search of a qualified electrician in Philadelphia, select an experience electrician that complies with the Philadelphia Electrical Code and the National Electrical Code. Also, ensure your professional can provide satisfactory answers to the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Philadelphia?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of Philadelphia?
- Do You Comply with the City of Philadelphia Building Code for Electrical Works?
- Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Philadelphia Code?
- What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Philadelphia?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Philadelphia?
The City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (DLI), through its Permits and Licenses Center, is responsible for licensing individuals interested in offering electrical services in Philadelphia. Accordingly, individuals are prohibited from acting as electrical contractors without a valid license issued by the DLI. Violating this rule is a class II offense that attracts civil and criminal penalties of up to $1,000 or 90 days imprisonment.
Individuals who intend to offer electrical services in Philadelphia must first obtain an electrical contractor license. For applicants to qualify for this license, they must have a minimum of four years of experience carrying out electrical work for a licensed company in the city or state. Otherwise, applicants must have completed two years of education in the electrical field. Applicants must also show proof of completing the Philadelphia Electrical Contractor Examination administered by the International Code Council. In addition to this, they must have completed at least eight hours of coursework in a current or later edition of the NFPA 70 exam approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
Note that these exams and coursework requirements must be complied with within 12 months preceding the license application. If an applicant meets the applicable requirements, they can apply for a license online via the eCLIPSE portal, and they can schedule a virtual or in-person appointment if they need help completing the online application. For all licensing-related inquiries, interested individuals can contact the DLI by submitting an online request to 311 or call 311. Individuals who live outside Philadelphia can contact the DLI at (215) 686-8686.
To verify if your intended electrician is licensed, you can utilize the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections L&I's online platform. Also, you can use the city's Permit and License Center suspended contractor's directory to verify if there is any disciplinary action against the electrician.
Electricians in Philadelphia charge an average of $36 per hour. Although what determines these professionals' charges is dependent on several factors like the type of electrical work they are performing, including the materials and labor required to do the job. Nonetheless, before hiring an electrician in the city, it is best to get and compare multiple estimates from different electricians. This gives you an idea of the average cost of electricians in your locality and helps you pick the electrician most suitable for your finances.
An electrician in the City of Philadelphia earns $56,850 annually. Provided below is an outline of the mean hourly wages for electricians in Philadelphia compared with electricians in other parts of Pennsylvania and other major cities in the country:Philadelphia Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$26.95Pennsylvania Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$23.15Los Angeles Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$27.25New York City Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$30.48Houston Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$25.57Phoenix Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$23.86Chicago Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$30.50
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Philadelphia Electrical Code establishes the minimum standard for electrical work carried out in the city. The Code also regulates the installation, alteration, maintenance, and repairs of electrical systems like electrical wirings, indoor and outdoor lighting, and fire and signal alarms in the city. The Code also establishes acceptable health and public safety standards to be complied with when carrying out electrical work anywhere in the city.
Homeowners should always ensure their projects do not violate any provisions of the Code, as Code violations attract penalties such as the payment of fines. As such, you should ensure that your intended electrical contractor is conversant with all the relevant sections of the Philadelphia Electrical Code, as well as the National Electrical Code, applicable to your project. You can direct your queries regarding the Electrical Code, its requirements, and possible code violations to the Department of Licenses and Inspections by submitting an online request to 311 calling 311 directly.
You need an electrical permit for the installation, alteration, renewal, replacement, and repair of electrical and communication systems and components. A property owner or licensed electrical contractor can apply for an electrical permit at the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections via its Permits and Licenses Center.
Applicants must determine if their intended project falls within the boundary of Philadelphia before applying for a permit. Once determined, an applicant can apply for an EZ permit if the projects do not require the submission of plans. However, if the project requires the submission of plans, the applicant can download and complete a Building Permit application form. The applicant must then book an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person to be able to submit the completed application form alongside any other relevant documents and pay the applicable filing fees at:
- Permit and License Center
- 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
- MSB, Public Service Concourse
- Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Alternatively, applicants can apply online through the eCLIPSE portal. Applicants should note that they must upload all relevant documents and pay all applicable filing fees to complete their application. If an applicant needs help filing their application online, they can schedule a virtual appointment. Applicants have the option of applying for a rough-in permit to install the following before the full permit is issued:
- Electrical cables, conduits, device boxes, recessed panels (without breakers), and service equipment.
- Power supply and signal cables for fire and smoke alarm systems.
The rough-in permit will be valid for 60 days, and the electrical work must not be concealed. After the electrical permits are finally approved and issued, the permit holder must also schedule an inspection before any electrical work begins. To do this, the permit holder needs to contact a licensed electrical inspection agency, and the agency must complete an electrical permit inspection certification. After the work is completed, there must be a final inspection, after which the relevant electrical inspection agency will issue a certificate of approval.
For more information on permits and inspection-related matters, you can contact the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections by submitting an online request to 311 or calling 311.
Electricians in Philadelphia offer various services to residents of the city. These include installation, alteration, repairs, and maintenance of electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. As such, when you need to hire an electrician for electrical work, ensure you confirm the professional specializes in such particular work. For instance, electricians who specialize in handling electrical work in residential buildings may not be able to handle industrial and commercial projects. In addition to hiring an electrician that is experienced and well equipped, you should also confirm how much their services may cost.
The average cost you may pay for electrical services in Philadelphia is between $100 to $2000. Note that these service charges are usually not inclusive of permit fees where applicable. Below is an estimated cost associated with electrical services in Philadelphia:Electrical for remodel or addition$92 - $103Electrical fixture installation for 120v outlet$110 - $127Electrical fixture installation for 240v outlet$45 - $55Electrical fixture installation for mid-grade light switch$30 - $40Upgrade electrical panel or wiring for 200 amps$2,108 - $2,780Residential electrical contractors$75 - $91Commercial electrical contractors$98 - $107EV home charging station installation for 240 volts$1,182 - $1,226
Generally, any electrical issue that can easily cause injuries, fire, and death should always be treated as an emergency. These emergency electrical problems include electrical fire, exposed live wires, burnt electrical outlets, and power outages. Considering how much damage an electrical issue can cause, you should only hire the services of an electrician who is skilled, licensed, and has the equipment to handle the situation. To find an electrician near you that offers emergency services, you can use online member directories provided by the National Electrical Contractors Association and third-party review websites like Better Business Bureau. Always ensure you confirm the licensing status of your intended electrician via the City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections L&I's online platform.
In 2019, over 160 fatal electrical injuries were recorded among professionals across the country. Unsurprisingly, electrical contractors in the City of Philadelphia are required to obtain a Certificate of Insurance, with the minimum coverage amount listed below:
- General liability insurance: $500,000 per occurrence
- Auto liability insurance: $300,000 per occurrence
As such, when you intend to hire the services of an electrician in the city, you should only hire an electrician who has insurance coverage up to the legal limit. That way, you will not be fully responsible for any financial liability resulting from injuries, accidents, or property damage during your electrical work. Accordingly, always request a copy of a valid certificate of insurance and verify such certificate with the issuing insurance provider. You can also contact the city's Department of Licenses and Inspection by submitting an online request to 311 or calling 311 to authenticate an electrician's insurance certificate.
Residents must be cautious when hiring an electrician for any electrical work in Philadelphia to avoid falling for scams. There are many instances of scammers preying on homeowners who want to perform a home improvement project and scamming them successfully. For instance, in 2020, a Philadelphia-based contractor was indicted for accepting more than $137,000 for projects and abandoning them. The contractor successfully did this between May 2018 and March 2020. Some common home improvement and utility scam methods include door-to-door solicitations, offering cheap bids, requesting payment upfront, and refusing to show proof of licensing.
However, you can take the following precautionary steps to protect yourself from falling for these scams:
- Request for previous work references from your electrician and ensure you contact these references for review of work carried out by the electrician.
- Verify the licensing status of your intended electrician by utilizing the City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections License Center L&I's online platform.
- Confirm if your intended electrician has not been suspended or is not facing disciplinary actions via the city's suspended contractor's directory.
- Review estimates from multiple electricians to compare costs and eventually choose the one that suits your budget.
- Execute a written contract with the electrician.
- Ensure you keep all documents like receipts, bids, the signed contract, and invoices, related to the project safe.
- Avoid making full payment until you are satisfied with the work carried out by the electrician.
If an electrical contractor or business has defrauded you, you can report this to the Department of Licenses and Inspections through the online Philly 311 form or by calling 311. If you are outside Philadelphia, you can call (215) 686-8686 to report the situation. You can also submit a complaint to the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General by completing an online complaint form. If you wish to seek restitution against the electrician, you can file a civil claim at the Philadelphia District Court. However, endeavor to contact a qualified attorney for legal advice.