Residential vs. Commercial Electrical Work: What’s the Difference?

October 3, 2017 1:57 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Recently, a business owner that needed some minor electrical work done hired an electrician who specializes in residential work. Everything seemed fine when the work was done, but just a few days later the electricity went out due to a blown fuse that was caused by the inadequate work the electrician had done. The residential electrician simply did not have the experience and tools to do the job properly. Now this business owner was forced to hire different commercial electricians in Stanislaus County, CA to redo what the residential electrician had done.

The energy needs, load demands and equipment setup for commercial electrical work is not the same as for residential electrical work. This business owner had to learn that the hard way. At Wilkinson Electric Inc., we have a team of both residential and commercial electricians in Stanislaus County, CA, which is why we can say that we are truly a full service electrical contractor. No matter what the job is, we have the experts to handle it and know the different needs of commercial work vs. residential. What are those differences? Let’s take a look.


Commercial buildings are typically hard on their electrical systems. There’s just a lot going on every day for eight hours a day (and sometimes after hours, too), which can take a toll on the wiring in the building much faster than what occurs in a residential setting. Therefore, the wiring needs to be easily accessible to make repairs or updates as needed. A commercial electrician will take this into consideration during installation and when making repairs.

Homeowners, on the other hand, don’t want unsightly electrical wiring to be visible, and if there are children or pets in the home, they certainly don’t want it to be easily accessible. It’s important when doing residential work to ensure that the wiring is hidden behind the drywall and that the work is done well the first time to avoid having to go back in the wall to make repairs.


Again, because the wiring is more out in the open and needs to be easily accessible, a higher grade of protection is needed for commercial wiring. Commercial wiring is thicker and is usually contained in heavy duty, tube-like conduits. Thin, narrow wires covered in a plastic sheath are used in homes because they are not required to conduct the same amount of power and they need to fit into smaller spaces.

Power phases

Finally, utility companies’ electrical loads are categorized by power phases to ensure that different types of properties (commercial, industrial and residential) get the power they need without experiencing a power overload. Residential electrical work uses single-phase power, while commercial buildings use three-phase power.

Whether you are looking for residential or commercial electricians in Stanislaus County, CA, be sure you choose the right electrician for the job. At Wilkinson Electric Inc., we’re able to offer full service electrical services for both residential and commercial buildings. For a free estimate, give us a call today!

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