Get Quotes from Top Electricians in San Francisco, CA
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician in the City of San Francisco
Ensuring your intended electrician is conversant with the National Electrical Code and the San Francisco Electrical Code is highly recommended. This is because electrical work that is not done according to the standards outlined in the Code will attracts civil and financial penalties, and may also leave you a victim of home electrical fire. Home electrical fires accounted for approximately 51,000 fires annually, leading to about 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. When searching for a skilled electrician in San Francisco ask the following question to ensure your electrician is up to the task:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of San Francisco?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of San Francisco?
- Do You Comply with the City of San Francisco Building Code for Electrical Works?
- Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of San Francisco Code?
- What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of San Francisco?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of San Francisco?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Electrician in the City of San Francisco
All electrical contractors in San Francisco are required to be licensed before carrying out any electrical work if the total cost for the project, including labor and materials, is above $500. However, owner-builders can do electrical works on their property without a license but certain requirements may apply. For instance, owner-builders can do electrical works in their homes if the work is not intended or offered for sale. Failure to obtain a license before performing electrical works is considered a misdemeanor, which might result in a jail term or fines, or both, and the penalties go up with subsequent violations.
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is responsible for regulating and issuing electrical contractor licenses in San Francisco. Interested applicants must be at least 18 years, have a minimum of 4 years of practical electrical experience, and pass a licensing examination. However, note that this experience must have been obtained within the last ten years and at the journeyman level at least. Having satisfied these requirements, interested applicants are required to submit a completed Application for Original Contractors License Form to the CSLB and pay the necessary fees. Also, applicants are required to submit a Certification of Work Experience Form alongside their application. Inquiries regarding general licensing and processes can be made to the CSLB at (800) 321-2752.
To verify if your electrician is duly licensed, you can utilize the CSLB's check a license portal or contact the Board at (800) 321-2752.
On average, electricians in San Francisco charge about $51.29 per hour. However, these charges can vary depending on the complexity of the job, materials needed, and the electrician's level of experience. Hence it is advisable to get estimates from different electricians near you before hiring any. This will give you an idea of the hourly rate electricians in the city charge for your project and will help you select a skilled electrician whose rate fits your financial budget.
An electrician in the City of San Francisco earns $89,680 annually. Provided below is the annual mean wage of electricians in San Francisco and a comparison of these electricians' mean hourly wages with that of electricians in other parts of California as well as other major cities in the United States:
Hiring electricians that are familiar with the regulations of the 2017 National Electrical Code and San Francisco Electrical Code help with ensuring your electrical projects are safely and properly executed. These Electrical Codes contain provisions that stipulate minimum safety standards aimed at protecting lives, health, properties, and public welfare against risks that may arise from the use of electrical appliances and equipment. They also regulate and control the installation, quality of materials, location, maintenance, and operation of electrical equipment, wiring, and systems in San Francisco. Anyone who violates these Codes, particularly the San Francisco Electrical Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor, which may result in the payment of a fine or a jail term, or both.
For more information on the Electrical Codes and their requirements, you can contact the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI) at (628) 652-3200 or via email.
No electrician in San Francisco is permitted to perform any electrical work in the city without first obtaining a permit from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. However, repairing or replacing a domestic appliance where no change in existing wiring is involved and replacing component parts for electric signs or gas-tube lighting systems of the same size and rating can be done without a permit. Per Article 89.125 of the 2019 San Francisco Electrical Code, any electrical contractor who performs electrical works without a permit is guilty of a misdemeanor, which may lead to paying a fine not exceeding $500, or up to 6 months imprisonment, or both.
Permit applicants are required to apply for electrical permits online and pay the necessary permit and inspection fees when submitting the application. Once the permit is issued, the permittee is entitled to commence the work described in the permit. After obtaining the necessary permit needed for any electrical work, the permittee must notify the city's Code Official anytime the work is ready for inspection. Permittees can contact the Department online or via (628) 652-3401 to schedule inspections whether orally or in writing. Such scheduling should be done 24 hours before it is required. The required inspections include:
- Pre-cover inspection: this inspection takes place before the concealing or covering of any electrical equipment, wiring, and systems authorized by a permit.
- Final inspection: when the work authorized by a permit is completed, the permittee can schedule a final inspection.
- Other inspection: this may be required to ensure compliance with specific provisions of the San Francisco Electrical Code.
After the inspections, the Code Official can either approve the work and issue a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy or notify the permittee of any violations, which must be corrected to comply with the San Francisco Electrical Code. When the corrections are made, the permittee can then apply for reinspections. Inspection fees are not required for the first reinspection. However, inspection fees are required for subsequent reinspections.
For more information on electrical permitting and inspections, you can contact the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI) at (628) 652-3200 or via email.
What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
Electricians in San Francisco provide many services, including electrical wiring and rewiring, inspections, repairs, lighting services, code compliance upgrades, and electrical setup. Accordingly, before you hire an electrician, ensure you are aware of the services they offer and those services tally with the work you want to get done. Also, do your research on the cost of these services so you can appropriately budget for them. Below are some common electrical services and their estimated costs in San Francisco:
Electrical problems in the home shouldn't be taken lightly because they could pose a life-threatening risk to the individuals resident in the home. Hence, all electrical problems should be treated as emergencies. However, some common electrical problems that can have very dangerous implications include:
- Frequent electrical surges which could be due to poor wiring in the house, faulty appliances, or damaged power lines
- Power sags and dips, which usually occur when the power grip is faulty and electrical appliances are connected to it
- A flickering light bulb
- Repeatedly tripping circuit breaker, which can be due to high wattage
- Electric shocks
Any homeowner experiencing any of the aforementioned electrical problems, or even any electrical problem at all, should consider hiring the services of a licensed electrician immediately to avoid attendant electrical hazards. You can check third-party websites like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau to find electricians close by who can handle your electrical emergencies. Additionally, you can find licensed electricians near you by using the Find My Licensed Contractor portal on the CSLB website. To verify if your electrician is licensed, you can utilize the CSLB's check a license portal or contact the Board at (800) 321-2752.
Electrical work is precarious, and managing electrical wiring and installations carelessly can put individuals and property at risk of injury and damage, respectively. For instance, the State of California Department of Industrial Relations recorded that 464 fatalities occurred in the state's construction industry between 2013 - 2019 due to falls, contact with objects, exposure to hazardous environments, and transportation incidents. Accordingly, there are several dangers associated with electrical work, and this is why it is mandatory for all electricians in the City of San Francisco to have workers' compensation insurance before engaging in any electrical services.
Although it is not mandatory for electricians to carry general liability insurance, it is advisable to hire electricians with one to protect yourself from personal costs in the event of unforeseen accidents during your electrical work. Hiring an insured electrician will protect you from financial liabilities for the professional's workplace injuries. As a result, this coverage may reduce the risk of personal expenses for treatment and care if an electrician is harmed while delivering the services you require.
The State of California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. With such a rate of home improvement complaints and scams across cities in the state, homeowners are advised to take measures to ensure they are not scammed when planning their home improvement or related projects. In most cases, these scammers are usually unlicensed contractors but claim to be licensed. For example, in June 2019, the Board conducted an undercover sting operation in several cities across California, including San Francisco, which led to the arrest of several unlicensed contractors, some of whom offered electrical services. These unlicensed electricians use various methods to scam vulnerable homeowners, some of which include:
- Contracting without a license
- Requesting excessive down payments
- Pressuring homeowners to sign an agreement
- Door-to-door solicitations
By taking any of the following steps, you can protect yourself and reduce your exposure to such scam methods:
- When looking for a great electrician, it is always good to ask friends or family members for recommendations.
- Get at least three written estimates from electricians within the city, and ask for references on work the electricians have completed
- Verify that your intended electrician is licensed.
- Check the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) website or the CSLB website for any complaints about your electrician.
- Always insist on a written contract and do not sign it until you understand the terms and conditions applicable to the contract.
- Ensure that the contractor is duly insured
- Never pay large amounts of money upfront, and do not pay in full until the job is complete and done as agreed.
- Avoid making cash payments. Instead, make payment by credit card, money orders, or check for the sake of recordkeeping.
If you happen to be a victim of a home repair scam, you can file a construction complaint with the CSLB. If you need assistance with filing this complaint or you would like to make complaint-related inquiries, you can also contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752. Finally, having considered your complaints, the CSLB may recommend that you file a small claims lawsuit at the Superior Court Of California County of San Francisco.