Garage Conversion: Do You Need An Electrician?

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you might be looking forward to converting your garage into an office, guest bedroom or den. The job might seem simple enough: Lay down some flooring, decide what you want to do about the garage door, put up drywall and insulation, and start decorating. While you might be able to do the bulk of the work yourself, there are some parts of a garage conversion that might require the expertise of an electrical contractor. Take a look at the following scenarios and see if they apply to your project.

A Permit Is Required

The need for a building permit varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some areas, you can't even put up drywall in your garage conversion without a permit, while in others, you can really do whatever you want within the footprint of your home without appealing to any higher authority. The best way to find out what's necessary is to ask the building department of your city or town.

If you do need a permit, a licensed electrician in your area will be aware of the specific electric codes that must be adhered to. Even if you have experience wiring light fixtures or moving outlets, it's possible that you might not realize that a certain space clearance must be left or that the wires must be run a certain way to comply with building codes. If you don't have an electrician handling this for you, your electrical work might not pass inspection, which is not only frustrating, but also expensive. At the very least, hire an electrician to check your work before your final inspection.

You Aren't Quite Sure Which Wire Goes Where

If you aren't positive about how to replace your fluorescent lights with recessed lighting, for example, hiring an electrician to do the job for you could be the best money you ever spent. First, an electrician will know how to use as few materials as possible; if you DIY, you may end up overspending on supplies due to wastage. Secondly, a slip-up when installing electrical appliances could lead to a house fire. Don't take a chance with your safety!

You Have a Big Job Ahead of You

If you are living in an older home with a fuse box instead of a modern electrical panel, your garage conversion project is a great opportunity to get that updated. Switching the electrical system is not a task to undertake on your own if you do not have electrical training. Another example of a job that might be too much for the average homeowner to handle is switching out higher voltage outlets (such as for your dryer or hot water heater) to standard 120-volt outlets, for lamps or your television. You can certainly find tutorials on these types of jobs, but it's unlikely you have the tools or the troubleshooting skills to deal with unanticipated complications.

You Need a New HVAC System

In some homes, particularly those with central heating and air conditioning, one or more ducts for the system will already be run into the garage. In many others, however, you will need to install a whole new HVAC system or add onto an existing one to keep your new space comfortable year-round. Depending on the type of system you have and the type you want, you may need an electrician. For example, you might be able to handle installing electric baseboard heaters that simply plug in, but adding a more complicated cooling system may require an electrical upgrade.

For more information, contact Global Electric & Lighting Inc or a similar company.