Electrical Panel Upgrade - Costs & Tips
Firstly, What is an Electrical Panel?
Before we speak about if you need an electrical panel upgrade, let us talk about the circuit breaker panel itself. An electrical panel is the central point that connects the wires from the outside to the wires inside your home and how your electrical service provider provides electrical power to your property.
It’s often also called the main circuit breaker box, the fuse box, a distribution panel, a load center, and even a breaker panel. This box is where you go when you want to flip the breakers off and on to have the power back on when you’ve tripped the circuit breaker.
It is usually located in the garage area, on your home’s external surfaces or in a utility area, but could be anywhere in your home.
Different types of panels:
How modern technology force your house to an Electrical Panel Upgrade.
As modern technology improves and the use of electrical gadgets increases, older electrical systems may not be sufficient to supply enough energy to your property. If your power supply is insufficient or unreliable, or you’re preparing an increase of your electrical system, an electrical panel upgrade may be in order.
If a planned electrical wiring change, building project, or issues with your electrical power call for an electrical panel upgrade or new breaker box, a licensed electrician can complete your project.
Your electrical contractor will evaluate your current fuse box or breaker panel to determine if repairs, expansion, or installing a brand new electrical panel is the ideal way to resolve problems with the system or allow for adequate service.
After inspecting the panel and discussing the job with you, your pro can determine the complexity of the situation and give you an estimate of the time and cost involved.
When it’s time for the panel upgrade project to start, your electrical contractor will pull local permits and get to work. Your pro’s license and insurance can give you self-confidence that the job will be finish correctly and safely.
If your home is older than 30 or 40 years old, you might need an upgrade. Older homes typically have panels that top out at 60 or 100 amps. Newer homes usually have 200-amp panels which fit our lifestyles. Today’s electricity needs are higher than before with high-definition televisions, computers, smart fridges, and other home appliances.
Does Your Electrical Panel Trip Often? That doesn't entirely mean you need an Electrical Panel Upgrade.
Some signs you should start thinking in an electrical panel upgrade on a house that is more than 40 years old.
If your electrical panel trips frequently or if it makes a crackling sound, it may need an electrical panel upgrade.
The system will trip when you connect too many home appliances into a circuit which requires more power than the electrical circuit can accommodate.
The “tripping” or cutting off energy is a safety measure to avoid the wires from getting too hot. It probably means that just the breaker needs to be replaced and not the whole panel.
If your lights dim or frequently flicker, mainly when you use other home appliances, this could be a sign of connection coming loose or something failing.
Some older homes have a fused electrical service. While there are positive aspects of both, some homeowners may wish to update the fuse box to a modern circuit breaker.
Replacing a fuse box with an electric panel runs between $1,200 and $2,500.
If new wiring is necessary, or the homeowner wants to add additional circuits to the home, the price of materials and labor increases.
Rates to upgrade an old circuit breaker box to a new one will be close to replacing a fuse box. Homeowners, especially those in older homes, should consult a professional for a quote.
So how much money will cost me an Electrical Panel Upgrade?
Estimated rates for upgrade electrical panel range from $1,200 to $2,500. Actual costs can vary depending on project factors such as:
Average Price to Install a New Main Breaker Box or Sub Panel - $800 to 1000
The cost for an electrical panel upgrade or sub panel with 32 circuit breaker slots is about $1200 without city permit. The exact price depends on the number of circuits and the amperage of the unit.
If the main electrical panel is full, installing an extra one will allow homeowners to have more space for new electrical circuits. The advantage of this if you need to provide power to new rooms in future remodeling or building additions.
Electrical Breaker has different prices.
When electrical contractors are doing an electrical panel upgrade, they don’t have an obligation to use ARC Fault breakers. Taking this inconsideration makes a significant impact on pricing because of a Standard breaker, 15A to 20A circuit breaker cost between $5 to $10 each. Standard, 15- to 20-amp fuses come in packs of three costing between $5 to $10.
Homeowners should expect to pay at least $100 for professional installation. Older circuits and fuses may be challenging to find and cost up to $70. Price for installation should be about the same.
Inside vs. Outside Electrical Boxes
Electrical box regulations sometimes require an electrical panel to be attached outside of the home. In a fire, firefighters can turn off the home’s electricity safely and quickly from the exterior.
Homes more than 12 – 15 years old may still have indoor boxes. Moving it outside could be necessary and add to the cost of the project. Otherwise, the location shouldn’t affect the price of installation.
Project cost increases if a professional must tear out and replace drywall or plaster to perform the necessary work. Expect to pay about $2.50 per square foot for professional drywall repair.
Electrical Panel Costs
Total material costs depend on the type of unit and the features you choose.
Electrical Panel upgrade is not always an independent project. An old electrical panel may also have old wiring, worn outlets, outdated fixtures, and damaged circuits.
Electricians who notice extensive wear and tear may recommend upgrades to other components. Necessary updates can significantly increase the costs of a given project, but they support a safe and functional power system.
AFCI vs. GFCI Breakers
AFCI and GFCI breakers can be as much as ten times the price of standard versions, between $45 and $80 each.
Specialty breakers offer extra protection to help reduce the likelihood of electrical hazards, like fires or electrocution.
Code requires this type of protection in areas of the home, such as standard rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.
When the system needs both types of protection, you have two choices.
You can either use a combination AFCI/GFCI breaker or an AFCI breaker with a GFCI receptacle. Combination breakers cost about $50 at home improvement stores.
Combo units are usually more cost-effective than buying the specialty breaker and receptacle separately.
Federal Pacific & Other Top Service Panels
In addition to amps and number of circuits, the brand you choose will affect how much you pay.
Some manufacturers offer warranties on their products when installed by a licensed electrician in the united stated.
Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) and Zinsco were two of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker boxes from the 1950s to 1980s.
When these units did not meet safety standards, retailers stopped selling them. However, these brands are in many homes across the country.
If your home has one, you should contact a professional to replace it as soon as possible.
More Reasons to Upgrade The Electrical Panel or Replace it
You can upgrade your panel for both functional and make your home safer and more valuable.
Modern homes need more power than decades-old homes and businesses. As technology grows, power requirements will continue to increase.
Prospective homeowners may look at old panels as a sign of an obsolete electrical system in disrepair. Updating can make a difference for resale.
FPE or Zinsco models, known to be safety hazards, should be replaced as soon as possible. Conditions that show an immediate need for attention include:
Advantages and Disadvantages of An Electrical Panel Upgrade
Electrical projects usually are not the best for do-it-yourself. There are lots of things that can go wrong, several of which are fatal. Working with a licensed, knowledgeable electrician will likely help you save in the long run. All these professionals are aware of the local and most current electrical codes and can inspect your electric panel as well as wiring for any issues.
Electricians go through comprehensive training to become certified and are required to complete continuing education hours to renew their licenses, which also helps to keep them up with national, state, and local laws and regulations.
Electrical repairs are dangerous. The perils of replacing your box are too many to consider doing it yourself. When a property owner has decided to upgrade, he or she should find a licensed and insured electrician.
Leave electrical system issues to trained professionals who know precisely how to handle them. Pros pull the proper permits and work with your local power supplier.
A professional will also be familiar with current code and safety requirements. The electrician knowledge will ensure your family is safe from hazards, as well as prevent expensive repairs in the future.