As electricity usage in the United States has increased, the need for electricians has also gone up. While it is not always easy to find electricians, there are a number of options to help you find one. Today, we are going to be looking at two ways that you can estimate how much electrical work your home will require. The first option is using a calculation software which uses formulas with information about your site and given time frames to calculate how long work would take and how much it typically costs. The second option is looking up an estimator who will provide an estimate based on what they know about your project based on their past experience working with other properties in the area like yours.

What is Low Voltage Estimating Software?

Every electrical job is different. From the type of wiring that needs to be done, to the number of lights you want in your home. There is no way that a formula could ever be created that could calculate how long work will take. However, there are some people who are using computers to come up with formulas based on how much electricity usage goes up or down when new equipment is installed and how many hours of labor it takes to complete a certain type of job.

When buying these estimating software programs, you will have to choose which formula works best for you. Most programs offer more than just one option for estimating work and some offer six or more. So, which formula is best for you? I recently heard someone say that if your electrical codes allow the use of a single number to be used for estimating purposes, then the “manual” method would be best. That being said, when I look at my electronic code manual, it does not list any single number as an estimating number. In fact, it lists multiple numbers as potential options. This suggests that the software will usually come out closer to what you would expect than a hand calculation method would be.

What Does a Low Voltage Estimating Software Do?

When you open this kind of program up and look at what it does for you, it can seem overwhelming and hard to understand how it is going to work. However, it is really quite simple and you probably won’t even need to read the manual. All you have to do is enter the information that you have about your project into the program and it will tell you how much work will cost. Some estimating software programs offer more features than others. However, most of them have the same basic features.

What are Some of the Features You Need to Look For In Low Voltage Estimating Software?

When looking at different programs, one of their biggest selling points is their accuracy. The program I use has been around since 1985 and has an error rate of less than 1% which means that 97% of all projects are estimated within 1% or less of actual costs.

Other features that you might want to look for are:

1) Up to date electrical codes for your area.

2) The program will automatically adjust for seasonal rates if you enter the correct information.

3) Tests on your electrical system to see if it passes code as well as records how much it costs to make upgrades.

4) A listing of the most common building materials and how much they cost. This is especially useful when you are planning a remodel and need to do some inexpensive additions first.

Pros of Low Voltage Estimating Software:

1) Normally the software is free or only $20 or so.

2) The program is very accurate.

3) Software that tells you how long a job will take with night and weekend time frames will be more accurate than most estimators.

Cons of Low Voltage Estimating Software:  

Other than these factors, there are not many cons to this method of estimating work. However, if you do not have the right electrical codes in your area, then the software may not give you an accurate estimate.


Low voltage estimating software definitely has its place in residential electrical planning. However, it is important to remember that even with the most up to date program, information and codes in your area, there is still a chance that you will get an inaccurate estimate. This option is not going to be perfect for every homeowner because of its limitations. In the end, this method of estimating work is just like using an estimator. The more information you have about your project and how much you want to pay, the less likely that there will be any surprises in the end.