Commercial vs. Residential Work: An Intro for Anyone Who Wants to Become a Construction ElectricianJuly 31, 2018
While commercial and residential electrics share in basic similarities, knowing their differences is essential for safe and effective installations. These distinct commercial and residential needs help electricians ensure power is being channeled properly and in proportion with their specific purpose.
For future electricians, a keen understanding of commercial and residential needs can be a way to specialize your training and build a professional reputation. From suitable materials to installation procedures, students may develop a sense of these electrical needs in anticipation of rewarding careers.
Are you curious about the differences between commercial and residential electrical work? Keep reading for more information.
Power Needs Vary in Residential and Commercial Settings
Commercial and residential electrics vary most essentially by power needs, which will determine ideal materials and installation procedures. Commercial buildings require more power than private residences – a difference expressed by ‘phases’ of power. Residences typically use ‘single-phase’ power of 120 Volts, with some specific appliances like dryers or washing machines requiring two-phase power of 240 Volts.
By contrast, commercial buildings typically require ‘three-phase’ power, with a total of 448 volts. This setup is comprised of two smaller ‘legs’ of 120 Volts, and one ‘wild’ leg of 208 Volts. Whereas ‘single-phase’ power is generally adequate for residential use, three-phased setups are preferred in commercial settings for their reliability and high output – two essential features for workspaces and heavy equipment. Understanding these different commercial and residential requirements helps electricians ensure maximal efficiency, preventing under and overpowering.
Professional residential installations ensure the utmost homeowner safety
Electrical Technology School Trains Students to use Specialized Materials
With hands-on training from an electrical technology school, future electricians learn to identify suitable materials for each electrical job. Perhaps most importantly, residential wiring is typically covered in anti-shock sheath insulation, ensuring the safety of homeowners and non-electricians. Since residential wiring is often placed in cramped and hard-to-reach places, this insulation can also help protect thin electrical wires from potential damage.
Wire insulation is even more important in commercial settings, often with specifically-designed protective materials. Commercial wires are often the same size as residential ones, but they receive stronger protection from a thermoplastic, heat-resistant tube (THHN).These protective tubes may also be designed to withstand specific hazards, depending on the commercial environment. For instance, wires might be protected against specific chemicals in the advent of gas or liquid leaks.
Installation and Maintenance Procedures Also Vary
While training for an electrician career in construction, students can also learn the distinct installation procedures suited to residential and commercial environments. In residences, electrical work typically takes aesthetics into account, eliminating potential eyesores by concealing wires behind walls. Since residential electrical work seldom requires elaborate maintenance or changes, wiring is often set in place more permanently before the drywall is finished.
Best practices for electrical work are different in a busy, multipurpose workplace. With commercial spaces housing a variety of appliances like computers and printers, electricians must plan not only for a higher power output but also an adaptable setup that lends itself to maintenance work. Wires are therefore easier to reach in a commercial environment – often left in the open, or quickly accessible in ducting. By familiarizing themselves with these commercial and residential procedures, aspiring electricians can build reputations for effective and long-lasting work.
Residential and commercial jobs may also require different tools
Are you ready to become a construction electrician?
Contact North American Trade Schools for more information.