Which Electrical Panel is Right for Your Home?

If you're a homeowner in the San Francisco Bay Area looking to install a new electrical panel or upgrade your existing one, hiring the right electrician is key. With the wide range of electrical contractors and electricians in San Francisco, how do you know which one will do the job safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively?

Electrical Panels Demystified - Finding the Best Electrician San Francisco

If you’re a homeowner in the San Francisco Bay Area looking to install a new electrical panel or upgrade your existing one, hiring the right electrician is key. With the wide range of electrical contractors and electrician San Francisco, how do you know which one will do the job safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively? This article will guide you through the different types of electrical panels, factors to consider when choosing an electrician San Francisco, and provide tips for finding the best electrical contractor for your panel installation or upgrade needs near San Francisco. Looking to read more about “Warning Signs You Need a Panel Upgrade?” – Check out this post.


Why Properly Installing and Upgrading Your Electrical Panel is Critical

The electrical panel, or breaker box, is the central nervous system of your home’s electrical system. It houses all the circuit breakers that serve different parts of the house and controls the flow of electricity. Upgrading or replacing an outdated electrical panel ensures the safety of your home’s wiring and allows your system to meet today’s energy demands. Electrical panels do degrade over time, so an upgrade can prevent circuit overload, reduce the risk of electrical fires, and improve power reliability. Hiring a reputable, licensed electrician San Francisco ensures the work is done properly since any mistakes during electrical panel installation or replacement can be catastrophic.

Types of Electrical Panels for Homes

There are a few main types of electrical panels used in homes today:

Fuse Boxes

Older homes built before 1960 likely have a fuse box with screw-in fuses. Fuse panels max out at 60-100 amps, which isn’t enough for most modern homes with multiple large appliances. These outdated panels need upgrading during a remodel.

Main Breaker Panel

This is the most common upgrade from a fuse box. It uses circuit breakers instead of fuses, offers 100-200 amps, and has the main shut-off switch built into the panel. (Resource: This Old House)


A subpanel adds more circuits and is installed when the main breaker panel maxes out. It includes a feed from the main panel to supply additional electricity.

Load Center

A load center has a main breaker or shut-off switch separate from the panel housing the circuit breakers. It offers space to add more circuits in the future.

Key Factors When Choosing Electrician Services for Panel Installation/Upgrade

Installing or swapping out an electrical panel is complex work best left to trained electrical contractors. When hiring an electrician San Francisco, here are key factors to consider:

  • Licensed & Insured – Make sure they are fully licensed and insured for liability, property damage, and injuries. Never hire an uninsured electrician San Francisco.
  • Experience – Ask about their specific experience with electrical panel installations and upgrades. Look for 5+ years of experience.
  • References – Get 2-3 references from recent panel upgrade customers. Contact them to ask if the electrician did quality work.
  • Panel expertise – Find someone familiar with all the different panel types and brands available. They should advise you on the best system for your home.
  • Warranty – Choose an electrician who warrants their electrical work for 1-2 years. This assures you of their quality.
  • Estimates – Get estimates from 3-4 licensed electricians before deciding. Avoid going solely with the lowest bid.
  • Availability – Ask when they can schedule your panel upgrade or installation. Avoid contractors booking months out.

10 Tips for Finding the Best Electrician in San Francisco for Your Panel Work

  1. Check reviews online for local electrician San Francisco to see feedback from past panel installation customers. Look for 4-5 star ratings.
  2. Ask friends or neighbors for referrals to an electrician they’ve used and can recommend.
  3. Contact local electrical supply stores – they may recommend good panel installers they work with regularly.
  4. Look for certified electricians who invest in continuing education and training on the latest electrical codes and safety standards.
  5. Search industry sites like the Electrical Connection for licensed, vetted electrical pros.
  6. Avoid door-to-door solicitors making unsolicited offers for electrical work. Stick with pre-screened electricians.
  7. Check credentials like NEC certification, licenses, insurance, and bonding to confirm they are qualified.
  8. Ask about the warranty on parts and labor so you’re covered long-term.
  9. Request a detailed quote in writing covering the full scope of work so there are no surprise adds-ons later.
  10. Go with your gut instinct if something feels off about a particular electrician San Francisco. The safety of your home is paramount.

Questions to Ask An Electric Company Before Hiring for Your Panel Upgrade

To determine if an electrician San Francisco or electrical contractor is the right fit for your panel installation or replacement project, here are key questions to ask:

  • How many panel upgrades have you completed in the past 5 years?
  • Are you familiar with all the different types of panels – which do you recommend for my home and why?
  • Do you provide design consulting to determine exactly what we need before starting?
  • Will you pull the required permits for the electrical panel work?
  • Do you have proof of licensure, insurance certificates, and a business license?
  • Can you provide references from recent panel upgrade customers I can contact?
  • Will you be doing the work yourself or subcontracting it out?
  • How long have you been an electrician and how much experience do you have specifically with panel installations and upgrades?
  • Do you offer financing options or payment plans for larger panel replacement projects?
  • What safety precautions do you take when doing electrical panel work?
  • What building codes are you familiar with and up to date on? (Resource: CA Codes)
  • Do you offer warranties on parts and labor? How long are they for?
  • Will you provide a detailed invoice upon project completion?
  • When are you available to start my panel installation project?

Summary: Finding the Right Electrician Matters

Upgrading or replacing your home’s electrical panel is an important project that affects your safety. Take the time to thoroughly research electricians, get multiple quotes, check credentials, and ask the right questions before hiring. A reputable, experienced electrical contractor familiar with all types of panels will make sure your panel upgrade is done right. For San Francisco Bay Area homeowners, investing in the best electrician you can find provides invaluable peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your electrical service offerings?

At Mercy Electric, we offer a range of electrical services to both residential and commercial clients in the greater Bay Area. Some of our services include electrical wiring, fixture installation, troubleshooting, and installation of electric vehicle home charger stations for Tesla and other electric car brands.

Does Mercy Electric do commercial electric?

Yes, we absolutely do offer commercial electrical services! A lot of our work we do as a subcontractor on commercial projects.

Do you provide services for both residential and commercial clients?

Yes, we provide electrical services to both residential and commercial clients. Whether you need electrical work done for your home or place of business, we have the expertise to get the job done right.

Can you handle new construction projects?

Yes, we specialize in providing electrical services for new construction projects. Whether it’s a residential property or a commercial building, we have the knowledge and expertise to handle all your electrical requirements.

What sets Mercy Electric apart from other electricians?

Mercy Electric is known for our professionalism and commitment to excellence. We prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure that every job is done right the first time. Our team of skilled electricians is experienced in handling a wide range of electrical needs, from small repairs to large-scale projects.

Do you offer handyman services?

No, we do not provide handyman services. Our focus is specifically on electrical work for residential and commercial clients. If you need electrical services, we are the experts you can rely on.

Can you install electric vehicle charging stations?

Yes, we specialize in the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Whether you own a Tesla or any other electric vehicle, we can provide the necessary electrical setup to ensure efficient and safe charging.


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