In this blog post, you’ll learn the difference between a Vancouver industrial electrician and a Vancouver commercial electrician.
We call for the services of an electrician whenever we need to install, repair or replace electrical systems and fixtures in homes and businesses. But did you know that electricians have different expertise and skills?
We all know what residential electricians do, but most people are under the wrong impression when it comes to commercial and industrial contractors.
You might find the difference between a commercial electrician and an industrial electrician confusing because both types of professionals help with electrical installations. The jobs performed by these two, however, can be different.
Industrial and commercial electricians have a lot in common when it comes to wiring buildings for power supply. They both install electrical systems from the ground up. But here’s where they tend to part ways:
What’s The Job of a Vancouver Commercial Electrician?
Commercial electricians handle all types of wiring projects. Some of their responsibilities include:
- Installing power systems in commercial buildings, such as malls and stadiums
- Replacing circuits and outlets
- Upgrading circuit breakers
- Installing grounding rods
- Tackling jobs involving high-voltage wiring
- Working with complex electrical systems in hospitals, schools and airports
- Installing fire alarms and lighting systems
What’s the Job of an Industrial Electrician?
Industrial electricians do more than maintain existing commercial electrical systems. They also install, inspect, test and maintain new or updated electricity in industrial settings. Some of their tasks include:
- Installing and maintaining wiring for factory equipment, such as conveyor belts and automated machinery
- Creating lighting schemes that will adequately illuminate workspaces
- Performing preventive maintenance on electrical controls
- Troubleshooting control systems in manufacturing plants
- Maintaining electrical panels and generators to ensure smooth operations
Differences in Skills
The responsibilities of a commercial electrician and industrial electrician usually overlap, but the knowledge required to do each job is different.
For example, electricians who work in large buildings with complex wiring systems need extensive training in electrical installation codes and safety practices. On the other hand, you’ve probably seen industrial electricians working in buildings such as factories and power plants.
Suppose you spot an industrial electrician on a job site. In that case, you’d expect that they know how to maintain wiring installations and ensure the electrical safety of the high voltage circuits in the building.
Of course, commercial electricians also do some work on high-voltage electrical systems, but they must also be tech-savvy and good with computers and the latest wiring practices.
That’s why electricians need to develop their skills in a particular area. These differences can help electricians improve the quality of their work and ensure safety, first and foremost.
It’s easier to pinpoint the commercial and industrial electrician jobs because of their titles. Industrial or commercial electricians can do either of these jobs based on how they want to ply their trade.
Most training programs teach them both skills as a general contractor, but having a clear preference means they can advance in their career faster.
When to Hire a Vancouver Commercial Electrician
You’ll want to work with a commercial electrician for some specific projects. This usually includes the installation of a new electrical system or upgrading an existing one.
Commercial projects usually involve extensive wiring and complex equipment, requiring advanced electrical installation codes and practices.
You also need a commercial electrician if you must replace your building’s circuit breakers. A commercial electrician has the skills to replace worn-out circuit breakers and ensure that wiring meets the latest codes.
Hiring a commercial electrician is a feasible option if you want to improve the lighting in your factory or update your control systems. They can also help with routine maintenance of electrical installations.
When to Hire a Vancouver Industrial Electrician
You’ll want to work with an industrial electrician to install and maintain the wiring for machinery as well as massive lighting systems. Some of their tasks include installing and troubleshooting factory equipment and heavy machinery.
Furthermore, you call for the services of an industrial electrician if you need an expert to test the electrical controls of a new or recently improved manufacturing plant.
Electrical contractors specializing in the industrial setting can work on lighting and power cables to prevent accidents in a factory or manufacturing plant. They may also test the electrical controls of machinery to ensure that it will run smoothly.
Industrial electricians are responsible for routine maintenance on complex electrical equipment used to run manufacturing plants. They are also involved in troubleshooting control systems that power machinery and lighting systems.
Industrial electricians may help set up an electrical generator for a factory that will operate only during peak production times or emergencies.
Industrial electricians are the better option for companies that want to update control systems in their manufacturing plants. This is because industrial electricians have experience upgrading circuits and troubleshooting electrical panels on an industrial scale, which can improve the production process.
Recurring electrical issues in the office signify that you need to phone a commercial electrician right away. Some of these issues are so common, and it’s easy to assume there isn’t a problem.
However, you need to acknowledge that even the most minor glitch in the electrical system in a commercial setting could prove to be extremely dangerous.
You’re responsible for the safety of everyone in your commercial space, and the last thing you want is an accident that could have been easily prevented.
So, here are the five signs indicative of the need to call a commercial electrician:
1 – The circuit breaker frequently trips.
When you flip the circuit breaker back, but it trips again shortly after, rather than assuming the issue is simply an overloaded circuit, you should call a qualified electrician. Even if you don’t experience power outages due to tripped breakers, other signs indicate problems with your wiring or electrical equipment.
Why Call a Commercial Electrician: This isn’t a DIY type of job. Even if you have some background or skills in handling electrical systems, the fact that the problem is in a commercial setting means you’re dealing with expensive equipment and carries a high risk for a disaster, i.e., severe injury and property damage.
2 – Lights flicker or work improperly.
Another sign of faulty wiring or electrical issues in your commercial space is lighting flickering or blinking when they aren’t supposed to be on at all, which can indicate an issue with the electrical connection. It could also be lights working improperly, as in a lightbulb not turning on or off when it should. In other words, the issue isn’t with the bulb itself but rather with the connection to that fixture.
Why Call a Commercial Electrician: A commercial electrician will determine why lights or other electrical fixtures are malfunctioning. A handyman or utility staff doesn’t have the experience or the skills to determine if the problem requires a simple repair or total rewiring.
3 – Some electrical outlets feel hot to the touch.
When the electrical outlets in your commercial space feel hot to the touch, it could be a sign of serious problems. Outlets that are warm to the touch could lead to overheating and fire. This is especially true if the outlets are located near flammable objects, such as curtains or boxes.
If you’re in a decades’ old office building, it’s possible that a higher capacity variant replaced an old breaker. This could result in higher levels of current than the original circuit was built for.
Why Call a Commercial Electrician: Number one, you don’t want to take any chances with your employees’ safety. Number two, this issue could pose a danger of fire. A commercial electrician understands the dangers and knows how to address them.
4 – The lights flicker when machinery or appliances are on.
When the lights in your commercial space flicker on and off when the machinery of any sort is turned on, it’s a sign of more than just an overloaded circuit or bad wiring. It’s possible that the wiring in your space is not compatible with whatever machinery or appliances were installed. Or worse, the wiring has been tampered with to accommodate the additions.
Why Call a Commercial Electrician: You don’t want to risk damaging sensitive equipment, especially when the issue could be resolved simply by updating your wiring. A commercial electrician is aware of the necessary precautions and procedures to take when working around sensitive equipment.
5 – There’s a burning smell somewhere.
If there’s a strong burning odour coming from some area of your commercial space, whether it’s near the electrical panel or in some other part of the building, you should ask for help immediately. Whether this burning odour is accompanied by sparks or not, turn off power sources to prevent a fire and call a professional right away.
Don’t get used to the smell as it could indicate a serious fire hazard. Even if you’re not in the same room as the source of smoke, it doesn’t mean that your building is safe from danger. Exposed wiring can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and other problems, so don’t take any chances.
Why Call a Commercial Electrician: Wiring issues can result in a fire hazard, a shock or electrocution risk, or even carbon monoxide leakage. A commercial electrician knows how to inspect and address wiring issues safely.
As much as you want to save money by delegating the job to your resident electrician or handyman, you can’t put your employees at risk. Don’t depend on anyone untrained to do a job as serious as electrical repair work.
Importance of Commercial Electrical System Maintenance
Commercial electrical systems are not as simple as residential ones. The difference in use, applications, environment, and equipment dictate the complexity of commercial electrical systems.
Commercial buildings have more unpredictable demands on the system due to their open nature, constant comings and goings, daily commotion, and night activities. This makes it critical for building owners to recognize that the reliability of their facilities is as important as its functionality.
The only way to secure the optimum performance of an electrical system in a commercial setting is to maintain it regularly. Maintenance requires periodic inspections and repair of broken or malfunctioning components by a qualified and experienced electrical contractor. It may cost you money, but it’s a small price to pay for safe and reliable power.