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What Does It Mean for My Electrical System to Be “Up to Code”?


You’ve heard the term “up to code” before and have a general sense of what it means when it comes to electrical systems: they have to meet certain guidelines in order to be considered safe. But what does that mean in practice? What is this nebulous code, and how can you know if your home is in violation of some kind? And if your home isn’t “up to code,” what needs to be done to fix the problem?

That’s plenty of questions, but we’ll address these concerns briefly below. As with any serious electrical system question, it’s best to ask an electrician in Amherst, NY directly. You’ll get the best information as well as the service you require.

The National Electrical Code

In general, the electrical code refers to the National Electrical Code (NEC). This isn’t a set of laws, but a set of standards for electrical wiring in the US that can be regionally adopted. It is part of the National Fire Code series from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The code has a long history, dating back to 1897 when electrical use in homes and businesses was widespread enough to make regulations necessary. The code is continually updated: the most recent edition is from 2008, and a new one will come out in 2020.

As we mentioned above, the NEC isn’t federal law. Instead, it’s a guide for local jurisdictions to create their own laws regarding electrical standards. A jurisdiction may simply adopt the entire NEC unchanged, or it may make alterations. It may even throw out the NEC entirely and write its own set of codes—although this is uncommon.

The Importance of the Licensed Local Electrician

Because there is no single federal standard electrical code but rather a local implementation, it’s vital for all electrical work to be left to licensed professionals. A licensed electrician must know the local code requirements and stay up to date on changes with continuing training. Amateurs can’t be trusted to know this information, and any work they do isn’t considered legally up to code—even if it’s done correctly, and it rarely is.

Stay Up to Code

How can you know if your house meets the local electrical code? If you live in a home built in the last twenty years and no unlicensed electrical work has been done on it, then you are likely up to code. Keep a watch for any electrical issues (flickering lights, numerous tripped circuit breakers) and call for repairs right away.

For a house more than twenty years old, you may have issues with bad aluminum wiring connections. If you know of any unlicensed electrical work on the house (and this absolutely includes you doing DIY work), then the house is automatically not up to code. In either case of older homes or amateur work, arrange for an electrical audit with our professionals.

If we find your house doesn’t meet current code regulations, we can handle the necessary rewiring, panel upgrades, outlet replacements, fixture replacements, or any of a dozen other jobs that will fix the issue. We’ll ensure your house is up to code and your family is safe.

Scherer Electric is Western New York’s Favorite Electrician! Call us for super-fast service, any time of the day or night.

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