Electrician, Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

Basics of Electrical Code for Homeowners – Part 1

In many communities, local laws and building codes require that electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician. Homeowners can contact their area’s municipal building department to ensure they are complying with local regulations.

Electrical work, including repairs, new wiring installations, and part replacements, must comply with both local laws and the NEC (National Electrical Code). Electrical code is written by experts, who want to ensure that the electrical infrastructure is sufficient, functional, and safe.


The National Electrical Code is updated every three years, and provides detailed and thorough instructions covering the installation of electrical infrastructure. The NEC is intended to be a guide for professional electricians to perform the safe installation, repair, or modification of electrical components, including wiring, receptacles, and lighting. The NEC is not written for the typical homeowner. 

At the time your house was built, its electrical wiring was probably safe and sufficient. Your home’s electrical work was also likely carried out in compliance with the National Electrical Code, which was developed with the help of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

Typically, the National Electrical Code is legally required by cities, counties, municipalities, and towns as adopted by their local building ordinances. You can find out your locality’s code by contacting its building inspection department.

NEC Not Step-by-Step Instructions

The NEC does not provide step-by-step instructions. Instead, codes specify the best practices for performing electrical wiring tasks, along with the proper materials that should be utilized for certain applications. Electrical code does not necessarily prevent a homeowner from carrying out electrical work. As mentioned previously, local laws may require hiring a licensed electrician for certain electrical projects.

Please be advised that fully understanding electrical codes takes expertise. Licensed electricians purchase the National Electrical Code in its book form, so that they can refer to the diagrams, sketches, explanations, and interpretations of codes. They also use it to review the best practices for ensuring safe electrical wiring.

Part 2 will cover Three Examples of Common Electrical Tasks.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.