Whenever we flip a switch, plug in an appliance, or adjust a reading light, we interact with the electrical system in a house. A good electrician can make those interactions easier in a hundred little ways, so it's best to communicate your needs early—ideally after the house is framed and before the drywall or insulation goes up. That's when master electrician Allen Gallant, who has wired many This Old House TV projects, takes his customers on a job-site walk-through, showing where he plans to put switches, lights, and receptacles. "I'll even ask them if they're left-handed or right-handed," he says. "It makes a big difference when you're looking for the light switch." It's easy to make changes at this point in the process, but once the walls are closed in, any second thoughts become far more difficult and expensive to implement.
The majority of homeowners will not mess around with the electric meter or service disconnect and leave these up to the utility company or hire an electrician. However, you might work with the electrical panel. Whether you're installing a new panel or making repairs on an old one, it's very important that you get it right. After all, this is the hub for your entire home's electricity.
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