Hiring the Right Electrician

• Make sure the electrician is licensed. Licensed electricians know
  and follow the electrical code and use only approved materials.
  They can also obtain electrical permits.
• Does the contractor have liability insurance? Are they covered
  by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)?
• Talk to your friends and family and find out if they have
  someone they'd recommend.
• Get the electrician to explain the job and how long it will take
  and the expected start and completion dates.
• What quality of materials will be used - high end or economy?
• What warranty is the electrician offering on labour and materials?
• Get a detailed written estimate. This may require a site visit to
  determine the extent of the work.
• Ask for references and use them.
• Find out if the electrician is affiliated with any professional
  organizations like Electrical Safety Authority or Ontario Electrical League.
• If you get more than one bid, make sure you compare
  ‘apples to apples’. Sometimes you might get a much lower price
  on one bid, but you may not be getting the same type of material,
  type and quality of work and level of service.
• Be wary of any electrician who asks for more than 30 per cent
  of the fee up front.

Friends, family, other trades who are licensed may be able to do some of the basics, however a qualified electrician can take professional care of your needs. Electrical contractors licensed to work in the Toronto area have a “Master Electrician” license and are issued an “E” number that should be displayed on business cards and invoices.


Lighting 101

Lighting can transform a room, but with so many options, it can become mind-boggling. Do you want to create a certain ambiance or do you need practical lighting for a home office? Do you have artwork you want to highlight? Should you buy halogen lighting? Recessed? What about dimmers? Think about how the room is used and consider the type of lighting that will compliment your home, your furniture and your style. Philips has a great interactive web site 'Designing with Light' that lets you experiment with lighting in every room of your home. Visit www.nam.lighting.philips.com/us/consumer

Your lighting options
Ceiling fixtures and chandeliers: provide general lighting.
Dimmers: add drama and atmosphere.
Hanging fixtures, such as those used in a foyer, provide general lighting at a comfortable level.
Pendants: a versatile way to create task or general lighting. For a stylish accent, consider multiple pendants at various heights over a particular area.
Portable lamps: provide general, task, and accent lighting.
Table lamps, floor lamps: versatile enough to complement any style of décor.
Recessed lighting: hidden in your ceiling while offering general, task, and accent lighting. Ideal for lighting artwork, for home offices or adding interest and drama to a room.
Track lighting: versatile enough to offer any form of lighting.
Wall-mounted fixtures: offer general, task, and accent lighting.

Dim and Dimmer

Dimmers can create a whole new look in your home. Go from the practicality of bright lights for reading or cooking to low lighting for a romantic evening or movie viewing. Whether it's for your home theatre, home office, dining room, bathroom or bedroom, there are many dimmer options. You can even get a wireless radio frequency (RF) whole-home control system that requires no new wiring. Dimming your lights also cuts down on your electricity bill and makes your bulbs last a lot longer. There are several types of dimmers on the market today: .
Touch dimmers let you vary the intensity of the lighting while
  depressing a button. These systems permit one-touch recall
  of the previous lighting level. .
Slide dimmers provide full-range, manual dimming control. .
Rotary dimmers offer full-range, manual dimming control.
  Some have a push-button operation that lets you turn the
  light on and off and return to the previous lighting level.
Integrated or Multi-Set dimming systems let you create
  multiple preset lighting scenes within a room. Recall the
  scenes with the touch of a button from a single wall box or
  with hand held wireless remote controls.
For more information, visit www.lutron.com


Lighting Up Your Life

All light bulbs are not created equal. That's why it's important to choose the one that provides the lighting you need. Of course, you need the right bulb for your fixture. Light bulbs come in three main types - incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen. Within these categories you can get various shapes, sizes and levels of light.
Incandescent: 'Screw-in' bulbs used in most lamps. Available in different colors and energy saving models.
Fluorescent: Good for lighting entire rooms since they produce more light per watt. Longer life than incandescents. Newer compact models are perfect for use in desk lamps and wall sconces.
Halogen: Gives you an instant-on white light and generates up to 30 per cent more light than incandescents. Longer shelf life, but they also cost more than incandescents. Quality halogen light brings out the richness of stone and natural materials.
Always pay attention to the type of bulb you need for a particular
  fixture. Never exceed the wattage specified on the fixture.
Use outdoor weather-proof bulbs for exterior lights.
When buying pot light bulbs consider that MR16s last 5,000 hours,
  while the GU10 bulb lasts about 2,000 hours.
Never touch the glass envelope when replacing halogen bulbs.
  The salts in your skin oils penetrate and weaken the glass.
  This gives the bulb a shorter life and when it dies, the filament
  doesn't just burn out, the bulb envelope shatters.
For hard to reach areas, use 6,000 hour bulbs. Keep in mind that
  they're not as bright as regular bulbs. A 60-watt 6,000-hour bulb
  is equivalent to regular 40-watt bulb.
The new energy saving compact fluorescence bulbs are low wattage
  with a long life. Check to make sure they fit your fixture and provide enough light.

Bathroom Ventilation Tips

Before you have your electrician install a bathroom fan, make sure you have an outside exhaust with an insulated pipe. Buy the proper size fan for the room and think about the noise level. Lower priced fans are noisier. Check how many sones (how sound levels are measured) in a fan. To judge the noise level, consider that one sone is equivalent to the sound level of a refrigerator. A good energy efficient option for a fan is an electronic timer that will turn off the fan after a preset period. The exhaust fan can remove the moist air then shut off automatically after a preset time.