95% of consumers don’t do their homework when hiring a contractor. I’ve only been asked for proof of insurance, references or my electrician’s license number twice in the last year. We encourage all our customers to do their research. There are many quality electrical contractors out there, but there are also some charlatans. You can quickly identify these contractors by searching the ECRA website or simply doing a Google search on the company name and their reviews.
Recently we got a service call from a customer whose electrical installation had failed ESA inspection. We would like to go through a list of the violations with you to let you know that not all contractors are created equal. All of these violations could have been life-threatening had ESA not had the proper procedures in place. We commend ESA for their licensing and their monitoring of all electrical installations within their boundaries.
We are going to start at the point of connection where the electrical line provided by Duquesne Light attaches to your home.
Violation number one, the Weatherhead is too far away from the point of connection to even connect the wiring.
Violation number two, a strap must be installed within 12 inches of the top of the meter base.
Violation number three, there is no sealant affixed to the LB bend allowing cold air entering the house and condensation water to build up.
Violation number four, inside the meter base at the point of connection the hot legs of the service line are stripped too far back causing a dangerous situation due to the possibility of electrical arcing.
Common practice for aluminum to aluminum or aluminum to copper connections is also to add a conductive gel which prevents corrosion and electrolysis. This was not done at the connections inside the electrical panel or the meter base.
Violation number five, the height of the meter base is too high. The electrical code states that the meter base must be within 5.5 feet in height. This installation was 6 foot 4 inches.
Violation number six, where the service line enters the electrical panel the wires are stripped all the way off causing another dangerous situation and possibility of arcing or energizing the electrical panel and causing a fire or electrocution for anyone coming in contact with it.
Had this service been hooked up, could it have killed somebody? Most definitely. This is one of the worst installations we have seen. As you can see in the photos, circuits were already landed in this panel in preparation to liven this up. The only thing that stopped the contractor from powering up the electrical service was the ESA inspection. This inspection probably saved the lives of the contractor, the homeowner, his family, and possibly his neighbors because of the risk of fire.
ESA has a policy of only dealing with a licensed Ontario electrical contractor on electrical service inspections. This forced the homeowner and the contractor to call a licensed electrical contractor prior to hook up to verify the safety of the installation.
Please do a thorough check of your electrical contractor to make sure they are licensed in your area to perform the work you require. In Ontario , a contractor license is acquired by taking a rigorous test proving the contractor has the skills and the knowledge of the electrical code to perform safe electrical installations. In our opinion, unless your electrical contractor carries a ESA contractor license , they are not qualified as an electrician.
As the homeowner or business owner it is your responsibility to check the qualifications of your electrical contractor before you sign anything. Call Parkway Electric Company, an Ontario Licensed Electrical contractor at 416-894-4313 for all your electrical needs.
Questions to ask your electrical contractor at time of bid proposal before you sign anything:
1.) Are you a Licensed Ontario Electrical Contractor? Once again a registered contractor is not a licensed electrician. A licensed electrician is not allowed to pull a permit or get involved with contract work.
2.) What is your License number? Call ESA at 1-877-ESA-SAFE to verify it.
3.) Can you provide me proof of insurance? Never hire contractors that do not carry business insurance against damage to your home or property. Demand the proof of insurance.
4.) Do you have verifiable references? Any licensed electrician should be able to provide you with many professional references – call them.
It is important to complete these steps before coming to any decision about having work completed at your home or business. “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price.”