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Job Duties

When a building is constructed, someone needs to make a plan for the electricity. That means that he or she has to decide where outlets, light fixtures, light switches, circuits, and other electrical devices should be located. The electrician follows blueprints to figure out where to install electrical systems that will be used for lighting, heating, cooling, and even communications.

Electricians work with different kinds of wire to connect these complex electrical systems. This is a difficult task because the wires need to be arranged in a very specific way. The wires must be kept in order so that if a problem occurs, the electrician doing maintenance can come in and easily understand where everything is and fix the problem. Electricians have to be organized individuals in order to do their job properly.

In order for the wires to be installed correctly, electricians have to know what kind of wire to use and the best way to connect the type of wire being used. In office buildings and other commercial buildings, conduit is used. Conduit is piping or tubing used to protect electrical wires. In homes, plastic-covered wire is used. Wires are then joined by either twisting the ends of the wire together with pliers or soldering the ends together with a soldering gun.

Once the wiring is complete, electricians have to test everything to ensure that it was installed correctly and that the electricity is working as it should. They use machines called ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes.

Maintenance electricians must have the same skills as regular electricians, but their duties are a little different. They perform maintenance work on electrical systems in office buildings, residential communities, factories, and other places that need a person on staff to make sure that the electricity is always working correctly. Maintenance electricians fix things when needed, but they are also responsible for making sure that electrical systems get replaced before they break. Depending on where the maintenance electrician works, he or she may be asked to update the wire in a home or repair electrical equipment in a factory. Generally, though, maintenance electricians spend their time checking equipment and practicing preventative measures to keep the electrical systems from breaking unexpectedly.

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