Ever since Benjamin Franklin went outside with his kite during a thunderstorm, electricity has ruled the world. All you have to do to understand this is to remember what it was like the last time your power went out for an evening. Nothing worked. No computer, no refrigerator and more importantly, no TV. Electricity runs everything important in our lives and when it malfunctions, somebody has to fix it, somebody who knows what they’re doing, that is. Electricity has the power to run things when it works smoothly, but, it can also burn things and kill people if misused. Of all the household accidents in this country, home electrical repairs ranks second in accidents right behind falling off ladders – only home electrical repair accidents are more deadly than falling off ladders.
Good electricians are highly trained individuals with a lot of schooling and practical experience behind them. Before you go sticking your hand into a fuse box, or rewiring the house for power, you have to know a lot about electrical power – the way it moves, how it does what it does, the math and physics behind it and a lot of other things. Everybody feels like a bit of an electrician simply by changing that blown fuse or plugging things in just right or wiring up that complicated TV/VCR/DVD/stereo entertainment center you’ve just bought. You wire it up, plug it in and somehow it all works without any sparks or problems and you feel like you could have been an electrician if you’d really wanted to. Wrong. There is a world of difference between plugging things in and being an electrician.
To begin with the body of mathematics behind electrical work is impressive. Electricity is measured in volts and is a function of voltage, current and resistance – all factors with a complex mathematical relationship. There are laws, not the building codes set in place by municipal governments to insure the safety of houses and commercial buildings, but mathematical laws proven with chalkboards of bizarre looking figures that prove how electricity will function under different circumstances. And there are unions. In fact the Electrical Workers Union (EWU) is one of the strongest unions in America protecting the integrity of the profession from scammers and schemers.