What is a domestic electrician?

A domestic electrician is an electrician that works in dwellings (houses, flats etc). This can be for home owners, tenants or land lords. Domestic work is commonly referred to in the trade as ‘house bashing’.

I personally did the first two years of my apprenticeship working for a local domestic electrician. It was the perfect way to start my career change to an electrician as it teaches you much of the underpinning knowledge required as an electrician. You quickly develop a good understanding of power and lighting circuits as well as testing and fault finding.

Time is money when working in domestic particularly if you’re working for a small business so you learn to work quickly, methodically and efficiently.

Domestic electricians need good people skills. A big part of the job is dealing with customers.

What do domestic electricians do?

Domestic electricians do a huge variety of work. Just a few examples of domestic electrical work include:

  • Wiring new builds
  • Rewiring
  • Fuseboard changes
  • Adding new circuits
  • Altering existing circuits
  • Adding sockets, lights etc
  • Changing wiring accessories (switches, sockets etc)
  • Changing light fittings
  • Installing new appliances (ovens, integrated appliances etc)
  • Electric heating
  • EV chargers
  • Solar PV
  • Outbuilding power supplies and wiring
  • Inspection and testing of electrical installations
  • Fault finding
  • Remedial work

What is domestic electrical work like?

It’s incredibly varied work. Domestic electricians have to be quite versatile and multi skilled with good knowledge of other trades and how to work alongside them (e.g. plumbing and joinery). You’ll learn a lot more than just electrical work as time goes on.

You will frequently be required to roll back carpets, cut and lift floor boards. Much of your time will be spent trying to route electrical cables in such a way that the cable cannot be seen, all the while trying to do it with minimal mess and disruption to the client. This will involve taking cables under floors, in roof spaces, walls, cavity’s, and voids. You will need some finesse and an eye for detail.

Domestic electricians often work closely with builders, for example when adding new circuits or altering existing circuits for an extension. Plumbers also often work with electricians, for example if installing a power supply to a new boiler.

Domestic electrical work can be tough

Domestic electrical work can be very frustrating. You will often be working on old wiring which has been badly installed, altered and messed with. What seems like a small job often changes into something much greater. For example when you take that old light fitting down to fit a shiny new metal one only to find there’s no earth in the wiring!

You will also spend a lot of time crawling around under floor boards and in lofts. So if you don’t like spiders, its not the job for you!

A big part of Domestic electrical work, particularly if you’re doing rewires is ‘chopping out’. This involves sinking back boxes into plastererd walls and cutting chases for cables to run up/down. You will often have to chase into brick/block to sink cables and boxes far enough back for plasterers to cover them. Its usually done with a grinder, sds drill and if your lucky a wall chaser with vac. Its hard work, noisy, dusty and dirty. Wear a mask and ear defenders, you’ll regret it one day if you don’t.

Other jobs many domestic electricians tend to do are:

  • CCTV
  • Security Alarms
  • Coaxial
  • Lan (data cables)
  • Phone Lines

Electrical guvvy jobs!

One big personal advantage I have found to learning the domestic side of the trade is guvvy jobs (side jobs!). I no longer work as a domestic electrician however frequently get asked by friends and family to do little bits of electrical work for them which I can do quickly and confidently with the skills I learned during my apprenticeship. Its a great little side earner.

Many of the skills I learnt whilst house bashing assisted me greatly in the renovation of my own home.