A Horse of a Different Color.
Residential Electrical Contractors (REC) are a different breed than Commercial Electrical Contractors (CEC). Obviously, we have both kinds at Illuminations Lighting Design because of our relations with both the commercial community and the residential community. When we perform work on your home, there will be Residential ECs on the team, even if it also includes some of our cross-trained Commercial ECs.
Generally speaking, these professionals are not simply interchangeable, and this is because of the dynamically different environments each finds themselves in. You’ve seen this, too, even if you just glanced at it for a moment before putting it out of your mind.
Think back to your last visit to a public or commercial space, such as a mall, a school, or your local automotive repair shop. You may have noticed all those pipes running along the ceilings or walls—but they’re not full of water or Natural gas. They are mostly conduits; these are pipes designed specifically for getting wires from point A to point B without the aesthetic necessity of hiding it all within the wall, floor, or ceiling cavities, but still keeping it safe. Even the wall-mounted fire alarms use conduit to protect their wiring.
In terms of design, it is acceptable in a commercial space, and that’s good because it is faster, cheaper, and considerably less work to install. Even in an office building, you’ll often see an electrical box and outlet attached to a wall with a conduit disappearing inside the concrete floor.
The even less expensive option is BX/MC/AC cable (essentially three designations for very similar products), which is flexible and “armored” or Metal Clad. It is often strung along wooden or steel beams or girders, hanging from fairly closely spaced clips that are bolted or screwed to the support. It’s exposed and may be subject to occasional abuse, thus the reason for the armoring.
However, unless you live in a retro/nouveau type home, built from shipping containers that have been welded together, or the latest chic industrial styles, then CECs are not the right choice for you. Our RECs are experts on the construction of homes and have been cross-trained in architectural design (even the antebellum styles). The whole idea with residential electrical wiring is that it should be invisible and unobtrusive, and exposed cabling or conduit just doesn’t work for that purpose.
Our RECs know where the spaces are within walls; where we can run wire without damaging or compromising the structure; where we can do these things with the minimum number of penetrations to walls and woodwork. This is something that CECs just don’t have to cope with very often, so it is best if you stick to experts.
More importantly, we know the history of electrical design and how it has evolved over the years. Just by knowing the age of the home we already know a great deal about it. We know how it was originally wired, and what possible changes have happened in the intervening years.
Another difference is that RECs use plastic sheathed wire, often referred to by the brand name Romex™, the same way that people refer to facial tissues as Kleenex™ or sterile dressings for small wounds as Band-Aids™. We also use low-voltage wiring for special low-power applications such as LED lighting. RECs and CECs live in different worlds.
One place where both tend to agree is power outages, and how most Houstonians should seriously consider a Natural Gas powered electrical back up system. That gas keeps coming, even when the power is out, unlike gasoline or diesel pumps at your local service station. And it can be fully automated, to disconnect from the grid when the power fails, and automatically start up, restoring your power in just a couple of minutes.
We can also provide tankless water heaters to save a fortune on electricity or natural gas, constantly running, keeping 80 gallons (664 pounds) of water ready for use at a moment’s notice. This is especially poignant when you only really need it for showers, the dishwasher, and laundry. Instant-hot tankless systems only run when there is a demand, so you save a fortune.
It may sound impressive to say “I’ve got a Commercial Electrical Engineer managing my home rewiring job,” but if you think about it, the job requires a completely different set of skills and experience. There is no doubt that they would do the very best job they could, but they might lack the experience to do it without making a mess because they probably lack the understanding of residential structure.
When Illuminations Lighting Design rewires a home, we thoughtfully plan and implement the wiring to meet your everyday needs. We do the job neatly, leaving no traces of our work aside from your beautiful lighting and safer, more convenient power system.
We are experienced, licensed electricians who want to do the job you expect without emptying your bank account! Since there are so many ways do a job incorrectly, we urge you to call us, because…
We’ll do it right!
Call us today at 713-863-1133 and experience peace of mind and excellent service as we help you reach your dreams and keep your family safe. Take a moment to schedule a design consultation or visit us on Facebook to learn more about our lighting and electrical services. We’d love to hear from you!