What Does a Commercial Electrician Do?

Commercial electricians install, inspect, and repair electrical devices and power systems in various business settings. They usually hold a degree, engage in an apprenticeship, and are licensed to perform their profession.

Unlike residential electricians, who work on single-phase systems, commercial electricians use three-wire systems, allowing each wire to carry a lighter workload. This wiring is typically exposed, running along the ceilings and walls of stores and offices. .


Electrical wiring enables a business to function, providing circuits and outlets for equipment like computers and IT apparatus and ensuring optimal lighting and heating. It also safeguards employees and customers against potential electric shock or fire.

Commercial buildings require more complex systems than single-family homes. This relates to everything from the phases of power (commercial uses three-phase power, whereas residential homes use single-phase) to larger wires that can support the needs of large spaces.

This means that commercial electricians are typically better equipped to handle more sophisticated electrical projects than those who focus on residential work. Additionally, commercial electricians are often required to follow stricter National Electrical Code (NEC) standards, building codes, and OSHA safety standards when working on electrical projects.

Another common service for commercial electricians is troubleshooting power outages at businesses and industrial sites. These electricians can identify the issue that caused the outage and correct it to prevent future problems.

In addition to providing services to troubleshoot electrical issues, commercial electricians are also responsible for installing new and upgraded wiring throughout a facility. They can add more outlets, upgrade AMP and voltage capacity, or install other new technology like arc fault circuit interrupters that automatically shut off the power in the event of an arcing fault to prevent fires.

It may seem like residential and commercial electricians are very similar, but they aren’t interchangeable any more than bus drivers are interchangeable with pilots. The training for each field varies, and the specialized skills required to succeed in each are vastly different. For example, commercial electricians have additional training in blueprint reading, electrical theory, and technological tools that aren’t available to those who only have experience with residential wiring.

Electrical wiring in commercial buildings is much more complex than residential wiring. It requires circuits and transformers that can handle higher power loads. It also requires higher compliance with safety standards than residential buildings. This is why business owners and facility managers hire licensed commercial electricians to ensure the safety of occupants and the integrity of their electrical infrastructure.

During installation, a commercial electrician will assess the building’s power requirements. They will then install the required systems and wiring. This can include lighting, power, and HVAC wiring. They may also wire data and voice communication systems. In addition, they will ensure that the building has an emergency power system to prevent downtime.

For them to work on commercial wiring, a commercial electrician needs to have a wide range of skills. They must be able to read blueprints, understand how to work on machinery and equipment, and be able to troubleshoot. They also need to be able to work at heights and for long periods.

Commercial and industrial electricians work in settings that are open to the public, such as malls, office buildings, and restaurants. They often work alongside construction teams to manage the power needs of these buildings. They must be able to communicate with contractors and other workers about their needs and how they can meet them.

Since commercial electrical systems differ from those in homes, they require more frequent inspections and maintenance. These electricians must be able to identify and repair issues before they become dangerous or cause costly outages. They must also be able to work with other professionals, such as engineers and architects, to ensure that all electrical systems are installed correctly.

Electrical wiring systems in commercial buildings and properties require more frequent maintenance than those found in homes. This includes repair work, inspections, and testing. Performing these tasks prevents electrical problems, keeps appliances functioning properly, and safeguards the equipment against fires or other damage.

In addition to these routine maintenance tasks, a commercial electrician can also design and plan new electrical systems. These may be needed when a business upgrades technology and uses more power than previous equipment. This can lead to an overtaxed system that requires an upgrade or additional wiring. A commercial electrician that can quickly and affordably perform this type of work is essential to any company.

Another responsibility of a commercial electrician is to respond to emergencies. When a power failure occurs, these specialists are first on the scene to ensure that electricity is restored promptly and that backup systems function as intended. This helps minimize downtime and data loss, which can be disastrous for some companies.

Other responsibilities of a commercial electrician include working from ladders, scaffolding, and other elevated locations to install or repair electrical conduits, wires, circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and junction boxes. They can also install and troubleshoot various types of machinery and industrial equipment. Lastly, they can work on heating and air conditioning units and install wire lighting fixtures.

Electrical wiring can become damaged for various reasons, and when it does, you’ll want to have the issue repaired by a licensed professional. Commercial electricians can help you with multiple problems, including fixing faulty outlets or switches, connecting devices wirelessly, and installing lighting fixtures. In addition, they can perform rewiring for buildings and other commercial properties.

When working in a commercial setting, following the National Electrical Code (NEC) is important. This ensures that your wiring is up to code and can support the demands of your business. Your licensed commercial electrician can also conduct safety checks to ensure your workplace is safe for employees and customers.

Unlike residential electricians, who usually work in homes, a commercial electrician can handle large-scale projects such as installing entire new electrical systems in office buildings or retail spaces. They can also work on three-phase electrical wiring, which is often necessary for businesses operating computer networks and other high-demand applications.

Commercial electricians can also troubleshoot issues with existing equipment and make repairs as needed. This may include repairing or replacing circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and other components. They can also install electrical conduits, breaker panels, and transformers in new buildings or rewire old ones.

One of the most important jobs of a commercial electrician is to test and inspect equipment to ensure it functions properly. They must test outlets, switches, and other electrical equipment for potential safety hazards.

In some cases, they might need to install a circuit breaker, a switch that automatically interrupts the flow of electricity when it detects a problem. This essential safety measure protects your home and business from dangerous conditions like fires or electric shock.

If you have an electrical problem in your home, it can be tricky to determine the source. However, with the right knowledge and training, you can perform some troubleshooting on your own. For instance, if you notice that the lights in your home are flickering, it may be a sign of loose wires. You can solve this by shutting off the power and examining the wall switch, light fixture, or outlet. Make sure there isn’t any exposed wiring by looking for a little insulation showing and tightening the screw terminals on each end of the wire.

Another common trouble is when a breaker trips or an appliance keeps tripping. This is usually due to overloading a circuit and should be fixed immediately. You can also move your appliances to a different circuit. If the problem persists, then you need to call an electrician.

Similarly, it would be best to note the smells around outlets and electrical panels. Any smoky or burning odors are signs that a fire has started. This is a dangerous and urgent problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Commercial electricians work with residential customers on new and existing electrical systems. They are trained to understand the customer’s electrical needs and find a solution that meets those needs safely while abiding by all local building regulations. They also work with industrial clients on specialized manufacturing machinery and facilities.

Industrial contractors work with a different client base but share many of the same skills and experiences as commercial electricians. They often complete projects in manufacturing plants and facilities that are highly complex and require special training in facility power, electrical systems, and process machinery installations.