You will often see electrical service companies advertise commercial or residential electrical work, or in some cases, both types. This might lead you to ask: What's the difference between commercial and residential electrical work?
The answer depends on the specific commercial building involved. However, in most cases, there are three primary differences between residential and commercial electrical work.
1. Machinery Used
The most significant differences are in commercial applications involving powerful equipment and heavy electrical machinery. These electrical machines often use three-phase power, while residential applications almost always use two-phase power. The two types are not interchangeable, so purely residential electricians are unlikely to have the skill to handle the three-phase systems required in commercial repair.
2. Electrical System Size
Next, the size of the electrical system is often quite different, even if it uses two-phase power. A typical two-bedroom house often needs only a few circuits to send power to every room, while a large commercial structure might have tens or even hundreds of separate ones. Because of this, installation, troubleshooting, and repair are all bigger jobs in the commercial setting.
An Alexandria, Virginia electrician who advertises commercial work will have enough people on staff to get these jobs done in a relatively fast time frame, while it could take a mom-and-pop residential electrician many days to cover the same amount of work.
3. Reaching the Electrical Issue
Finally, getting to a problematic circuit for commercial electrical repair can require more peripheral work than it would with a house. Commercial buildings are often made of cement blocks or other rigid materials, while most of the circuits in a house can be accessed by removing a bit of drywall. Because of that, a commercial electrician will stock his truck with heavier and more powerful tools for this purpose.
While a residential electrician in Alexandria, VA may have the right tools, too, it is far from guaranteed. A residential-only company simply may not be able to get to the part of the system that needs the work.
Finding a Commercial Electrician
Because of these and other differences, it's essential to hire a commercial Alexandria, Virginia electrician when you need commercial electrical repair. The type, size, and total power of a commercial system are almost always different from those used for single-family homes. The only exception is when an old house has been converted to hold offices, in which case, the original residential system might still be in place.
If you have any doubts about which type of electrician to hire, choose a firm set up to handle both system types, like EM2 Electrical Services. Then, you won't have to find a new electrician if your system doesn't match the expected specifications.
Sign up for our Yearly Maintenance Service Contract for whole-house or building panel maintenance in Northern Virginia.