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Meet The Editor

Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky in Olympia, WA








Darrell Boyd - Owner of Mister Sparky of WA.

Darrell is a Master Electrician license holder here in WA State and has been in the electrical field for over 25 years. He is extremely passionate about the electrical field and serving the local community. Educating people through this blog is just one of the ways he enjoys reaching out and sharing his knowledge. Electrical Safety in the home and making sure each home Mister Sparky enters is safer then when they got there is truly a belief and standard by which he leads Mister Sparky. Born in Tacoma, WA and raised in Olympia He loves the Greater Puget Sound Area and all it offers. Beyond electrical and Mister Sparky Darrell is also a husband of 28 years to his wonderful wife Yolanda and dad of 2 children Brett & Kaitlyn. When there is a spare minute you may find him watching and following his favorite sports teams The Seattle Mariners & The Seattle Seahawks or quite possibly on a quiet river fishing for trout and enjoying this great state. If you have a question or topic you would like to have Darrell write about please feel to reach out to him or contact him anytime at




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(253) 238-1275 Tacoma

(360) 464-9958 Olympia

(877) 465-3708 Toll Free

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Electrical Panel Upgrades: How Much Should They Cost?

Electrical Panel UpgradeUsually I will get 1-2 calls a week's asking me to give a ballpark price for what I would charge for a main electrical panel upgrade/replacement. It's a complicated answer and there's more to it than you might think. However, I will do my best to answer that question for you and give you some pointers too. Keep in mind electrical pricing and rates can vary greatly from city to city.

Factors That Impact Your Investment

  • What size of main electrical panel do you have? 100 Amps, 125 Amps, 150 Amps, 200 Amps?
  • What size of main electrical panel do you need? (Most homes today need 200 Amps)
  • Is the service on the outside of your house sized properly for the new main electrical panel that you need to install? If you are installing a 200 Amp main electrical panel in your home you need to make sure the meterbase and service conductors feeding your home and new panel are of a sufficient size to accommodate the new 200 Amp main electrical panel.
  • Is your existing panel that's being upgraded in a location that the local inspectors will allow it to remain? (panels in closets, with in 3' of the reach of water, less than 36" of working space in front of the panel, etc... and that panel with most inspection departments will not be allowed to remain in the same location. However, we always have options to relocate it to an approved location that most homeowner's don't realize and often times at little to no extra cost.)  
  • Is the bonding and grounding system currently installed in your home up to date? This is the backbone of your electrical system where we install ground rods outside your home and tie all gas lines, cold water lines, and galvanized waste lines together back to your main electrical panel. We are required once we update your main electrical panel to update the bonding and grounding system at the same time.
  • Is the opening where your current main panel exists wide enough of an opening to accept the new main electrical panel? 
  • Do you want a new panel with copper or aluminum bussing? (The buss bar in a panel is what delivers the power to the circuit breakers and what the circuit breakers attach to.)
  • Do you want copper or aluminum service conductors?
  • Do you want a warranty with your new installation?
So when I get that call to give a "ballpark" number over the phone you can see why it's a difficult and near impossible task. Also keep in mind that phone quotes open you up to contractors who may quote a low price over the phone just to get out to your home but then find all kinds of reasons to raise the price once he gets there. You are better off finding someone who will come out and look at your particular installation and provide you with an accurate cost to begin with. Picking electricians over the phone based on their phone quoting skills is a very dangerous proposition. Again, over the phone or on the internet most homeowners are not able to answer all the above questions and without those questions answered it leaves a wide range. So depending on any and all the above variables you can figure your investment to range anywhere from $1800.00 to $5000.00. Larger services 320 Amps and up will range even higher. However, take my advice and call a professional out to look at your particular situation and get an accurate quote as there is alot of money between $1800.00 & $5000.00 Most professionals will provide a free quote for this type of installation and it gives you the opportunity to interview and see the professional.
I hope this helps and I was able to shed even a small amount of light on this type of electrical service. Please feel free to leave any comments or click the link to the right for $200. off a panel upgrade or replacement installation and or just to get a free estimate for your particular situation.   





You are spot on with this one...we get asked that same question several times a week as well. And while we do our best to answer what we can over the phone, we really need to look at each individual situation. A true professional will always come out to take a look at your system and should never charge to do so. 
Electrician Tucson
Posted @ Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:10 AM by Tucson Electrician
i see i am not only one that get that call 2 3 times a week and then you tell them i cant quoit over phone and they cuss yea out
Posted @ Sunday, September 18, 2011 7:22 PM by rick H&A Electric
Rick - When a customer yells at you because you are trying to do them a favor and give them an accurate price... That is when the price DOUBLES. Just give them a price, because that's all they wanted to begin with!
Posted @ Thursday, August 02, 2012 4:05 PM by Amanda
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