Understanding a Few Differences Between a Commercial and Residential Electrician

If you own or manage a business of any sort, you will probably need to call an electrician to come out to the location and service the wiring at one time or another; the same is true if you're a homeowner. However, when you do need an electrician, it's good to understand the differences between a commercial electrician and residential electrician, so you can know why you need one versus the other. Note a few of those differences here so you are sure to call the right electrician, and can properly describe to them the electrical issues that need addressing.

Accessing wiring

In a home, electrical wiring is usually located behind the walls, and may also run along the attic or crawlspace. It may be installed behind insulation or inside a soffit that runs along the ceiling. This can make it more difficult to access than commercial wiring, which is often installed along conduits and ceiling panels, versus behind insulation, so that an electrician can easily access those wires. A commercial electrician may not know how to safely and easily access residential wiring, so they may not be the right professional for wiring work that needs to be done on a home.


Electrical work always needs to be done according to local building codes, and these codes may vary for residential wiring versus commercial wiring. For example, residential codes may require that wiring be encased in a type of plastic, to protect homeowners from shock when they handle their own DIY electrical repairs. Commercial wring may need to safely handle larger loads of electricity, such as needed for production machinery. A commercial electrician will know the codes for a commercial building, but not necessarily a residential home, and vice versa.

Electrical equipment

You may need to call a professional for electrical repairs to equipment and appliances, and these will also be different in a home versus a commercial facility. A refrigerator at home is very different in its motor, blower, and wiring, than a commercial refrigerator used in a restaurant kitchen, as an example. The motor in an electrical forklift will also be made and wired differently than the motor in an electric lawnmower or other lawn care equipment. Rather than assuming that all electrical equipment is alike, always ask an electrician their expertise when it comes your commercial or residential electrical appliances and tools, and choose the best professional according to your location and the electrical issues that need servicing.