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Commercial vs. Residential Electricals – Here’s The Difference

Commercial Electricians and Residential Electricians

Electricity is probably the last thing you will want to mess around with, and if you do, it can very much be the last thing you see on planet earth. Things can quickly go southwards due to simple errors, such as a wrong connection or improper installations. From life-threatening electrocutions to electrical fires that can demolish properties, electricity has the power to do it all.

Every electrical system looks similar; some wires, electrical gauges, and a few knobs and switches are located in an electric panel. But digging a little deeper will reveal that not all electric systems are created equal, especially when it comes to commercial and residential setups.  

Houses do not usually have as much electrical load compared to large commercial buildings. There are vast differences between commercial and residential electrical work. You cannot expect the wiring installed in your house to handle the load of the electrical fixtures found in, say, a mall.

Fun Fact: A medium-sized mall consumes enough electricity to power 2000 houses for the same duration.


Since the wires in commercial settings need to carry more current, they are usually thicker to allow more conductivity. These wires are protected in tube-like covers called conduits. If you ever wonder why pipes are attached to the electrical panels, they are conduits that protect the wires and keep the place looking neat and organized.

The wiring is kept open to allow for quick and easy access if something goes wrong. Say a wire burnt out in the middle of the circuit. With concealed wiring, the electricians will probably be required to dig into the wall and rip out the wiring before they can trace the fault. On the other hand, with open wiring, they will only need to take down one length of the conduit.

Residential wires operate at a lower voltage and carry less current. They are well insulated to keep the residents protected if anyone were to touch the wire. The commercial wires operate at a much higher level and thus require a different level of insulation and protection. Most commercial wiring is insulated using thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon (THHN)

Power Rating

Most residential buildings use single-phase power, which comprises 120 volts for most appliances and fixtures, and 240 volts for heavy appliances such as air conditioners, heaters, cooking ranges, and dryers.

 Commercial buildings commonly employ 3-phase power, which comprises two legs of 120 volts, and the third leg of 208 volts. Using such a high voltage allows more power to be drawn from the wires at a lower amperage, which means that wires can be thinner, thus saving up on the installation costs.

Material Quality

High-grade materials are required for electrical components installed in commercial buildings because they have to withstand tougher conditions in terms of power and externally. They are more prone to chemical, corrosion, and heat damage. The materials are of different codes and standards.

Some commercial buildings such as hospitals and banks also need to have backup power. These systems often require a different grade of wiring and equipment altogether.

Electrician Types

Residential electricians ensure safety, compliance, and proper installations in a residential building or a house. They are well-versed in interpreting blueprints, diagnosing and repairing faults, and can also service and maintain electrical appliances.

Commercial electricians do similar duties but on a larger and more complex level. They are responsible for laying out wiring, installing equipment and their control panels by following the standard blueprints. They are well experienced with three-phase systems.  

The dynamics of three-phase systems are quite different as the wiring and equipment differ greatly from single-phase systems. A licensed commercial electrician will be well-versed with all the higher quality electrical equipment and will be able to perform maintenance and installation of three-phase machinery and equipment used in commercial settings.

Commercial electrical systems run at higher loads and for longer durations. They are more prone to failure and need frequent maintenance. Commercial electricians can diagnose and troubleshoot these systems rapidly and efficiently.

Last Few Words

Residential and commercial electricians do a similar job of getting the right electrical power to our fixtures and appliances. On a broader scale, their jobs may look similar, but when inspected closely, the dynamics and operation methods differ significantly. Where one takes up the challenge of concealed wiring, the other has to handle larger amounts of power.

Golden Electrical Service comprises teams of licensed electricians who have years of practical experience troubleshooting and providing optimal solutions to households and commercial buildings. Our teams are experts are well versed with high power systems and three-phase electrical equipment. Our team of experts will be glad to assist you with all kinds of troubleshooting, installation, and upgrades. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at

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