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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a service cost?

There are dozens of factors that can influence the difficulty of and time on a job. Therefore, setting standard fees can be difficult. We provide free estimates for all work. Some services, such as installing an EV outlet/charger, can often be bid over the phone, but most bids require looking at the house and project first. For small jobs or troubleshooting, we have a minimum fee of $180, which covers up to an hour of work.

Do I need a permit to ......?

In most cases, yes. Whether you are adding additional wiring, a new outlet, or most other electrical work, the State of Washington requires a permit. If you hire Buddy the Electrician to do work that a permit is required for, we will purchase the permit through the appropriate agency and ensure the work is inspected properly. The only electrical work that does not require a permit is maintenance work. This could be repairing an issue or replacing a switch or plug that has stopped working. Also, replacing a single switch, receptacle, or light fixture for a new version of the same device does not require a permit.

Can I install a dimmer myself?

Yes, a homeowner can install a dimmer on their own. Actually, it is your home, so you can do whatever you want to it! If you take your time and read and understand the instructions, give it a try! Of course, it is also possible to install a dimmer incorrectly if you don't know what you are doing. If you get stuck, give me a call and I will try to help! This advice goes for any electrical work on your house. Before beginning any electrical work on your own, however, make sure you understand what you are doing and can do it safely before you start messing with it. It is a lot harder to fix a problem due to poor or unskilled electrical work and can also end up being more costly to you.

Do I need to upgrade my electrical panel?

Modern electrical panels are much more reliable and safer than panels installed 50+ years ago. The point of the breakers in your panel is to break/trip when they sense a problem. Therefore, a tripping breaker is doing it's job! A breaker that does not trip is the biggest safety hazard in your electrical system. We do free estimates for panel and service changes, and I personally will give you my honest opinion if you need to change out your panel. I don't try to sell a service I will tell you what I think is best for your home.

I lost power, what do I do?

First, do you have power from your provider? If not, then you will need to contact your provider to see if there is an outage.

If you do have power from your provider, then start by checking each of these things:

  • Do you have any tripped breakers on your electrical panel? If so, turn the breaker(s) all the way off and then back on.

  • Do you have any tripped GFI outlets (common in garages and near sinks, but can control lots of other plugs)? These have a "Reset" button on them. Press the "Reset" button to restore power.

If the answer to these is no, then the most likely cause is a loose connection in an electrical box. Use extension cords - if you must - to keep critical appliances going, and then give us a call. We specialize in troubleshooting electrical issues.

What is the difference between a bid and an estimate?

Often these terms are used interchangeably. However, at Buddy the Electrician we typically refer to bids as a set price for the work described and as long as the scope of the work doesn't change or some other variable is not added the price given in the bid will be the price billed for the work completed. We typically refer to estimates as our best guest at what the price will be, but we will finalize the price when on-site. Or it is an estimate of the time required to complete a job and the actually time spent on the job will be billed at an hourly rate.

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