Electric Panel Replacement Deadline at Covell Commons

Residents of Covell Commons, a townhouse community in North Davis, were recently alerted that all units with Zinsco Electrical Panels would have to get their panels replaced by May 1, 2024, as they were no longer safe. The Covell Commons Homeowner’s Association invited Cool Davis to provide guidance to residents. On Sunday October 8, 2023, staff and volunteers from Cool Davis met with residents to discuss how to safely, sustainably, and wisely plan their electric panel replacement, and invited local vendors to attend.

“This is a scary time, but it is also a time with the opportunity to make some improvements,” said Kristin, Cool Davis Board Member and Covell Commons resident.

Kristin put together a presentation highlighting the reality: while residents are choosing a panel to replace, it is important to consider whether or not they will want to electrify their home in the upcoming years. For readers who are unfamiliar with the term, electrification refers to the replacement of appliances powered by gas to ones powered by electricity.

“If you are changing things that were on gas to electricity, you need to make sure you have the right size [electrical] panel to make that happen,” said Danny, a representative of Greiner Electric who attended the event. “Sometimes the panels are already big enough to electrify your home, and other times they are not. And that is where the advance thinking comes in.”

Why might a resident want to switch to an all-electric home? While electricity supply can be generated by natural gas, your home can also be powered by renewable energy sources, which are more sustainable. All Yolo County residents who are customers of Valley Clean Energy have the ability to receive 100% renewable energy. “And through the miracle of physics,” Kristin told the group, “electrical end-uses are three times as efficient as natural gas.”

“[Home electrification is] not required now, but … the state building code is moving towards an all-electric baseline. It’s going to start requiring things,” Kristin said. “You don’t want to be told in 5 years, ‘Oh, you’re going to have to replace your panel [again].’”

This is why Cool Davis and vendors in the electric panel field were asked to attend the fair on the 8th. “When you’re planning your panel replacement … it’s the perfect time to make a really easy choice to prepare for electrification,” Kristin said.

During Kristin’s presentation, she provided a lot of tips for home electrification should residents decide to go down that route. Links to these resources will be provided at the end of this article.

Representatives from Greiner Heating and Air at the Cool Davis Home Energy Fair at Covell Commons October 8, 2023. Photo credit: Brittney Nial.

Outside the Workshop

Set up at the Covell Commons community pool from 2 to 5pm were representatives from Spingola Electric, Greiner Electric, and Brower Mechanical. Each company had a table that residents could approach to get their practical questions answered, and representatives were happy to step away and give individuals’ homes a look.

“This is a really crazy situation,” said Danny from Greiner. “I think this

is awesome.”

Next to the vendors, Kerry Loux, Donna Neville, and representatives from the HOA gathered. Kerry is the City of Davis’s Sustainability Program Manager, and Donna is a local City Council member. While they mainly attended to stay updated on the needs of the community, they were also available to answer any questions residents had.

Next to these impressive folks, Cool Davis had set up a tent with staff, interns, fellows, and volunteers. There were flyers and QR codes linking to some of the home energy resources discussed in Kristin’s presentation (see links below), and anyone who attended the presentation could access a free home energy audit at the table.

One of the volunteers, Vrushali Mendon, is an energy researcher for Pacific Northwest National Lab. As the principal investigator for two clean energy initiatives for the US Department of Energy, she spends a lot of time helping states and jurisdictions meet their energy goals. She also works on improving the energy efficiency of heat pumps, the electric equivalent of a furnace and air conditioner combined. But this was her first time attending a Cool Davis fair and speaking to residents.

“I think it’s really important [to have events like these], especially because so much of what needs to happen needs planning,” said Vrushali. “A lot of times homeowners are thinking about these things during crises. Something broke; we need to get that replaced. And unfortunately, that is not the best time where you can look at your options.”

While no one looks forward to being told they need to replace an item in their home soon, in some ways, the residents of Covell Commons received a blessing in disguise. “An event like this helps people understand what it is that they’re trying to do, plan a little bit, think maybe 5 or 10 years down the line, because everything is changing. California is heavily electrifying… So, we’re just going to need to make some changes, and the earlier we make them, it’s going to be cheaper” said Vrushali.

Cool Davis volunteers at the recent Covell Commons Home Energy Fair October 8 2023: Vrushali Mendon at left and former board president Bill Heinicke with Sacramento Valley Climate Corps Fellows Tamara and Cecilia in the middle. Photo credit: Brittney Nial.

This is the kind of event Cool Davis does

As Kristin said, “This is a process that [residents are] going to go through, and I think one thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of people in Davis that have [already replaced their electric panel].”

She encouraged residents to talk to those people, to her, and to local organizations for assistance. “This is the kind of event that Cool Davis does,” she said. “[We reach] out to homeowners and residents in Davis to help them through this process of pursuing sustainability.”

As HOA representative Julie said, “We have friends.”

Cool Davis home electrification articles

All-Electric Heat Pumps FAQs (highly recommended!)

Video of Clean Energy Home workshop (Cool Davis Home Energy & Efficiency YouTube playlist)

Presentation: Make A Plan-Clean Energy Home Workshop Presentation Final_PDF

The Electrification Path to Our Fossil Free Future by Chris Granger

Turn Off the Carbon Pump and Turn on the Heat Pump! Heat Pumps Explained in Basic Terms by Kristin Heinemeier

Smart Panels Manage Loads by Eugen Dunlap

Cool Davis home energy guidance documents

Cool Davis Understanding My Home Worksheet Final

Cool Davis All-Electric Planning Guide Final

Cool Davis HVAC Common Terms

Cool Davis Working w Contractors Cheat Sheet Final

Cool Davis Contractor Bid Comparison Table


Visit our Ways to Save webpage for utility bill assistance programs and home energy incentives.

Cool Davis related articles

The Electrification Path to Our Fossil Free Future

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Council Members Favor Voluntary Approach to Home Electrification

Slow and Steady: The Transition to an All-Electric Home

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