Electrician Types: Work Locations and Wiring Setups

Within the world of electrical services, there are a few different designations for professionals. The most common here are residential, commercial and industrial electricians, who as their titles suggest are split based on the areas they most commonly work in – but these are not the only differences between these roles.

At Orange Electric, while our primary services are in the commercial electrician realm, we also offer robust industrial and residential electrical services to many clients as well. Beyond simply working in different places, what kinds of different qualities do these roles require, and which should you be considering for your upcoming electrical needs? This two-part blog series will look into everything you need to know.

electrician types locations wiring

Basic Work Locations

It’s the most obvious part of this conversation, but is also worth clarifying. The three major forms of electrician are primarily split by where they work:

  • Residential electricians: Work primarily, and usually exclusively, in homes and residences. These include single-family homes, condominiums and several other setup types you may be living in. Residential electricians will be highly cognizant of factors like personal comfort, wiring aesthetics and related areas.
  • Commercial electricians: Commercial electricians are primarily found in stores and office buildings, performing a variety of tasks from installing power outlets to setting up lighting and performing basic repairs. Commercial electrical setups will often have a bit less of an eye toward aesthetics and more toward functionality, especially in non-customer-facing areas.
  • Industrial electricians: The least obvious differentiation here is between commercial and industrial electricians, who are sometimes confused for each other. While the former works mostly in smaller or moderately-sized commercial buildings, the latter tends to be utilized for larger facilities like factories, mines, chemical plants and more. They will often be called upon to set up and maintain power sources for entire facilities and other large-scale jobs.

Wiring Systems

Getting a bit deeper on the technical side, each of these electrician types will generally work with different wiring setups:

  • Residential: These electricians use single-phase power supplies, meaning either 120 or 240 volts of power. They run romex cable, wrapping wiring in a sheathed insulation that, as we noted above, will usually be hidden from public view. This limits exposure and wire damage, plus prevents any shock risk to residents.
  • Commercial: Commercial electricians, on the other hand, generally use a three-phase wiring approach. Two smaller legs run a single voltage, then a larger leg runs a higher one simultaneously. This allows for commercial power setups ranging from 120 volts/208-240 volts, or 277/480 volts.
  • Industrial: Industrial electricians also use a three-phase wiring setup. However, they mostly use different kinds of cables than commercial electricians – namely RMC conduit, which powers various motors and control instruments often used in industrial settings.

For more on the differences and similarities between various forms of electrician, or to learn about any of our commercial electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.