Electricians choose different sectors to provide their services including residential, commercial, and industrial. While many electrical companies provide all three, the skills required for each vary slightly due to various challenges and technical situations posed by each sector. If you’re wondering what the key differences are, here is a comparison between the two.

The Commercial Electrician

Commercial electricians offer services for buildings designed for public use. This covers any facility from offices to retailers and cinemas to hospitals. Their job is to safely install, upgrade and repair the wiring and electrical components of a commercial space. Some of the main differences in the work performed by a commercial electrician are based on the energy demand for larger-scale equipment including:

  • -Higher voltage electrical systems
  • -Large capacity generators
  • -Special health and safety equipment
  • -Oversized appliances such as fridges and freezers in grocery stores or restaurants
  • -High capacity HVAC systems

They will also encounter specialty equipment from major audio/visual systems at conference centers or theatres to special heating and cooling requirements at large skating arenas. As a result, commercial electricians must be skilled in understanding a much wider variety of energy needs and load demands.

They also use different materials and must understand different types of equipment setups from typical residential electrical jobs. While residential wiring is single phase and 120 volts, commercial structures often require a three-phase design to meet higher energy output demands.

Industrial Electrician

We are including industrial electrical work as it does not fall under commercial work as many people might think. Industrial electricians deal with work in spaces not open to the public such as manufacturing plants and factories. This would include:

  • -Steel producers
  • -Mining
  • -Car manufacturers
  • -Assembly lines for various consumer and commercial products
  • -Electrical power companies
  • -Factories

While their basic workload would be similar to commercial electricians, they are trained in repairing and managing industrial motors, storage batteries, transformers, regulators, and adaptors. Many are now trained in robot and computerized control equipment as demand in this area continues to grow.

Residential Electricians

This leaves us with residential electricians. In this capacity, electricians install electrical systems in homes during construction and renovations as well as performing repairs, inspections, and upgrades. This includes a long list of services including:

  • -Light fixture, appliance, ceiling fan, etc. installation
  • -Diagnosing electrical failure
  • -Electrical repairs
  • -Re-wiring and upgrading older systems
  • -Bringing homes up to code
  • -Installing additional outlets or light switches
  • -Fixing or testing home security systems
  • -Appliance safety testing for rental properties
  • -Electrical maintenance
  • -Speciality projects such as outdoor installations for exterior lighting, fountains, pool lights, etc.  

Residential electricians also provide important electrical inspections to ensure homes are safe and they remain compliant for insurance purposes.

As you can see while it might seem all electricians are created equal, each sector has different demands requiring distinct skills. While all share the same basic training to acquire their licenses, they must apply new skills and training so they can adapt to their area of expertise.