Making sure that your home's electrical circuits and wiring is sound and up to date is extremely important. Faulty or poorly designed circuits or electrical systems can result in electrical appliances breaking down and this can in turn result in a potential fire hazard. This should give you enough of a reason to make sure you hire a professional, qualified electrical contractor. The money and effort required to find a good, reliable electrician is well worth it. When looking for a well-qualified electrician, there are a few things to consider. Once you know what to look for, however, the task is not really all that hard. Proper paperwork and good recommendations from past clients form the basic rubric.

State Licensing
A professional San Diego electrician should have a state license. There are two kinds of licensing: the journeyman electrician's license and the master electrician's license. A master electrician is required to pass a thorough, standardized test, in addition to presenting proof that he has worked as an electrician for at least two full years. He must also know the National Electrical Code and keep up to date with any changes or updates that are made to it. With a master's license, an electrician can, by law, plan, design, install and maintain electrical systems.

A journeyman electrician's license is usually held by those professionals who have not yet fulfilled the two-year requirement. Before qualifying for mater's license, a journeyman must, by law, work alongside a master electrician as part of his crew. The law also says that a journeyman may not design electrical systems, but he may install electrical wiring and equipment.

Another piece of paperwork that you might want to ask to see when picking an electrician is a work permit given by the local building department. This permit is issued to an electrician by a building inspector, who examines an electrician's work to make sure that it is in accordance to standard regulations and codes. Asking to see a permit is one way to verify a contractor's professional qualifications.

Specialized Electricians
Many electricians specialize in one area. For example, some focus more on working with pre-existing electrical systems and other's concentrate on designing and installing electrical circuits in construction sites, and still others work specifically with commercial property. Each electrician knows techniques specific to his area of specialization. For example, an electrician who does primarily remodeling work will know how to snake wires through finished walls and how to evaluate the power of existing circuits and deciding whether additional ones are needed to handle new power demands.

When hiring an electrician, check to see if his area of expertise matches up with the kind of work that you need done.

Get someone who's recommended
A good way to find out names and contact info of dependable electricians is to ask other contractors for recommendations. Usually non-electrical contractors will have a list of electricians that they usually work with and that they know are good. So if you are building a new room or putting in a fence ask the contractor doing the job if they know any good electricians. Your local home builders' association and nearby electrical supply places are other good places to look.

Finally, when you sit down to interview an electrician, ask, in addition to the permits and the other paperwork, for proof of current insurance (at least $500,000 for him and his crew).