- How Much Does an Electrical Panel Replacement Cost?
- Can Homeowners Replace Electrical Panel?
- What are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional?
- How Do I Find an Electrician Near Me?
- What is a Bonded Electrical Panel?
- How Much Electrical Panel Clearance is Needed?
- Do I Need an Electrical Panel Box Cover?
How Much Does an Electrical Panel Replacement Cost?
For those who don’t know, electrical power from a company line flows into an outside meter, and then to a service panel. This flow of electricity states that electrical usage should not exceed the panel’s capacity of 100 to 400 amps.
The average cost of an electrical panel replacement, with both a qualified electrician and a panel with up to 100 amps, costs $800 to $1,200. However, if you need to replace the entire panel, it can cost up to $2,500.
For any upgrades to 200 amps, you will need to pay $1300 up to $3000. For 400 amps, you can expect to spend up to $4000.
Typical Electrical Panel Replacement Cost
In the Northeastern U.S., the cost of installing a 100 amp electrical panel replacement will cost up to $1500. This excludes service or labor costs, demolition, and wall repairs.
When choosing an electrician, you can search for referrals from the National Electrical Contractors Association, or get them from your family and friends. You may also want to get estimates from contractors. Be sure the contractor is a reputable company that is registered with the Better Business Bureau.
Why Replace an Electrical Panel?
You know you will need an emergency electrical panel replacement when you have a fuse box with blocks of screw-in fuses, or when you have an FPE panel manufactured between the 1950s and 1980s.
At one point, fuse boxes needed to be installed for convenience. Take note that fuse boxes can blow and can be quite the inconvenience.. To prevent this, all you need to do is ensure that the switch is turned off after use.
However, some electrical panels can be tampered with easily. This is an unsafe practice. Also, electrical panels with malfunctioning panels should be replaced.
Advantages of Electrical Panel Replacement
There are several benefits to installing new electrical panels in your home, such as:
● Your home’s safety – If there are malfunctions that can cause a fire, this can destroy the entire property. Acting beforehand saves your house and your family.
● Consistent power – You can overload circuits and trip circuit breakers regularly without a strong electrical panel.
● Saves money – You may not need to upgrade your electronics and appliances, just your electrical panel.
Factors that Affect Electrical Panel Replacement Cost
How do you keep the costs low? Here are some considerations:
● Area of the country – Wages or labor fees vary by town or city
● Electrician licensing fees
● Electrical work permits that are required by the municipality
● Labor requirements – To remove an old panel, or upgrade or install a new one
● Condition of current electrical wiring and insulation
● Obsolete electrical wiring, like tubes – know which wirings are unsafe for modifications
● Size of current electrical panel
● Length of electrical wires
What Should Be Included in the Quote?
To avoid being scammed, make sure the quote for the electrical panel replacement cost has the following:
● Relocation cost
● Guarantee of ESA Certificate of Inspection
● Clear and accurate labels of circuit breaker
Be sure to ask for a detailed explanation so you never end up overpaying. For an average 125 amp electrical panel replacement, the cost ranges between $2500 and $3000.
Can Homeowners Replace Electrical Panel
An electrical panel is durable, especially if you bought a high-quality one. It may last 25 to 40 years before needing any replacements, unless issues arise. If your panel is a product of old technology, like a fuse box, you might want to replace it with a circuit breaker regardless of the age of your current panel.
Replacing an electrical panel seems like an easy job to do if you google the instructions. However, you should never replace the electrical panel yourself. Only licensed electricians are allowed to perform such a task.
Here is the reason why:
An electrical panel is not as simple as it appears. There is complexity in it, which can be fatal if done improperly. The risks may include electrical shocks, fire hazards, and instant damages to your appliances and fixtures. Sometimes, the building and people in it can be harmed as well.
The government also has set codes to ensure safety. Only certified technicians have received the necessary lessons during their training. Unless you have obtained the same certification, chances are you are not fully aware of what you should and shouldn’t do.
Replacing an electrical panel requires a permit. The government will issue the paper only if the task will be performed by a licensed technician. If you plan to DIY, then you won’t get a legal permit for it. As a result, it would count as a violation. Moreover, no insurance company will approve your claim if the accident happens due to unprofessional and illegal work.
The Benefits of Hiring a Professional
There are many reasons why the government mandates a permit and license for all electrical work. Most of them benefit the homeowners themselves.
1. Professional electricians take less time to finish the task, meaning your electricity can run normally again sooner.
2. They will also let you know if they find something else in your system that doesn’t seem right.
3. Your safety is guaranteed. You have much lower chances of accidents.
4. If something bad happens, you will get the damage covered by the insurance.
5. DIY doesn’t always mean a lower budget. Sometimes, you may even spend more on buying the wrong parts. Hiring a technician, on the other hand, gives you a clear budget from the beginning.
6. When you plan to sell the house, you will have to list all the work and renovations done to the building, both the permitted and unpermitted ones. Don’t bother trying to hide the facts because there will be inspections done by a professional to make sure everything checks out. Having unpermitted work done may decrease your house value.
Although most electrical work requires licenses and permits, there are a few simple things that any homeowner can DIY, such as replacing light bulbs and fittings. Even so, you shouldn’t do so unless you have a full understanding of what to do, and the consequences that entail if you do it wrong. If you have any doubts, just hire an electrician near you.
Tips on How to Find an Electrician Near Me
Having the number of a local electrician in your phonebook is important to have in the case of an emergency. Power interruptions can be a hassle, and if you don’t have someone reputable whom you can quickly call, there will be a lot of complications. Instead of going the DIY route, it is wise to work with an expert to get the job done right.
Here are some tips on how to find a good electrician:
Always Check the Credentials
Make sure the electrician is licensed, bonded, and insured. Without these, you can end up with shocking additional expenses when trouble comes. It also ensures that the electrician went through proper training. Keep in mind that the type of license is important. Be sure you hire a local contractor with a full electrician’s license, or professional license, rather than a journeyman’s license.
Who Will Work on Your Project?
It is important to know if you will be assigned a master electrician, journeyman electrician, or simply an apprentice. The electrician company may hire a subcontractor on busy days. It is best you know ahead of time, depending on the degree of difficulty of your electrical problem.
Check for Warranty
An experienced electric contractor should be able to back up their work. A 12-month warranty should be the standard. Electricians with a Diamond Certification are highly reputable contractors who always provide such protection.
Reputation and Recommendations
Asking friends and family for recommendations is always a great start. A good local contractor will rely on word of mouth, but reviews and testimonials can help as well. It is also good for a local electrical contractor to have his own website with FAQs.
Written Estimate After Assessment
Avoid the surprise of added costs and out-of-line schedules by making sure you have a written agreement you can always turn to. Never rely solely on verbal agreements. And don’t simply go with the cheapest offer either. Make sure the contractor checks the damage first, then offers a written estimate.
Be on Alert for Frauds
There may be frauds following major disasters that require a lot of electrical repairs. To prevent this, always ask for a written estimate, references, proof of insurance and credentials, a written guarantee and schedule.
Hire the Experts
There are electricians with specialties in certain trades. Find an electrician who specializes in your type of property.
Conduct Background Check
It is vital that you choose an electrical service company that does background checks on their employees, or you will have to do it. Be sure the contractor who will work on your property went through sufficient training that is up-to-code with the latest standards.
If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Is
Don’t just go for an electrical service company based on the cheapest offer. Be sure that you choose a company that will offer the best person to do the job.
Visit Their Office
Only hire an electrician or plumber with a valid address. Estimates and contracts should have the correct license numbers, company name, address, and number.
Bonded Electrical Panel
The idea of having a bonded electrical panel may sound unfamiliar to many. However, it is a crucial component. Bonding is just as integral as grounding. It can prevent many possible disasters due to electrical faults. After reading the information below, you will be able to understand the matter better.
Know the Electrical Panel
The electrical panel that connects directly to the electric meter is the main electrical panel. You may notice that there are three wires that go from the meter to the panel. Two wires are live (hot), while the third one is neutral.
Most small houses only contain one electrical panel. However, sometimes one panel is not enough. Therefore, you will need more panels installed as sub-panels. All sub-panels are connected to the main panel. When working on a bonded electrical panel, it is vital to know which panel is the main one, and which ones are the subs.
Bonding the Right Way
The right way to bond is by connecting the neutral wire of the main panel to the ground wire. The main function of a bonded electrical panel, is to create continuity on a conductive loop. The connection allows the electricity to flow safely even when there is an overcharge going on.
When bonding your electrical panel, be sure to bond only the main panel. As mentioned before, it is the one that directly connects to the electric meter. Do not ever bond the neutral wire from sub-panels, as there will be dangerous consequences.
What Happens If You Bond Improperly?
When there are strays of excess electricity, a bonded electrical panel allows the energy to run directly to the ground, which means your house is safe. Without proper bonding, the electrical system would not stay energized. As a result, it could cause a fire in any of your appliances, fixtures, or wires. When someone touches an appliance or wire that holds an overflow of electricity, they run the risk of getting electrocuted.
Bonding a sub-panel is dangerous as well. Bonding the neutral wire of the sub-panel with the ground wire will make the installation parallel. It creates multiple paths from the neutral wire, including one that connects to the ground wire. When electrical overcharge happens, the situation can be problematic as the energy may flow uncontrollably due to a lack of continuity in the cycle.
Bonding is Different from Grounding
Bonding and grounding are both vital for your electrical system. Even though many people use both terms interchangeably, these terms are two different procedures. Grounding means creating a conductive path from an electrical system to the ground (earth). Some experts even propose changing the term ‘grounding’ to ‘earthing’ for a more subtle meaning. On the other hand, bonding is about creating one conductive path with continuity and stability.
It is against the code to have your electrical panel improperly bonded. Moreover, there are hazardous risks that could be harmful to your house and anyone living in it. If you are not sure how to get a properly bonded electrical panel, it is highly advisable to hire a professional electrician to conduct the task. Since it is not a complicated job, they most likely will not charge you that much.
Electrical Panel Clearance
Many people are underestimating the importance of maintaining a proper clearance on their electrical panel. Although the box is rarely used, obstacles around an electrical panel can be extremely dangerous. To keep your house safe, it is highly advisable to be informed about the importance of maintaining your electrical panel clearance, and how to properly do it.
Why Keep A Clearance?
With sufficient clearance, people can access your electrical panel with ease and do their work more comfortably. You might need it when you have appliances or fixtures to work on, be it something simple as changing a lightbulb, to a more intricate job like installing a central AC system. During repairs like this, you need to switch off the specific breaker connected to the fixtures and outlets, without switching off the electricity in the entire building.
A more vital reason to keep your electrical panel cleared, is that accidents may happen out of the blue. If an electrical error happens, such as a short-circuit or electrocution, you need to switch off the breaker immediately to stop the electrical flow. Timing plays a big part in this kind of incident because a few seconds of delay can lead to bigger disasters.
You certainly want to keep wet or flammable materials away from your panel. Having people working too close to the panel is also dangerous, as they can unintentionally hit the electrical box.
The Proper Measurement
Your electrical panel doesn’t need significant clearance. It only needs to have comfortable spacing, enough for one or two workers just in case you need something done with the panel. To be more accurate, here are the required measurements as suggested by the law:
● Height – The panel should be at least 6.5 feet from the floor, grade, or platform. It should not be lower than the equipment itself.
● Width – Ideally, the clearance should be at least as wide as the panel itself. But, if the panel is less than 30 inches wide, then the clearance width should be 30 inches or more. Less width of clearance will not provide enough space for people to work. The wider it is, the more comfortable and safe the clearance will be to work.
● Depth – Panels with live parts on one side, and no live or grounded parts on the other side of the working space, have, at minimum, a 3-foot depth to clear. Meanwhile, panels with live parts on one side of the working space, and only grounded parts on the other side, have minimum depths of 3 feet (for 0-150 voltage) and 3.5 feet (for 151-600 voltage). If you have live parts on both sides, 3 feet of clearance depth is only applicable for panels with 0-150 voltage, while the panels with 151-600 voltage will need 4 feet of minimum clearance depth.
Simple, yet significant, an electrical panel clearance can mean the difference between safety and harm. Don’t risk your family’s life on it.
Electrical Panel Box Cover
An electrical panel box is an integral item to have at home. However, it requires a strategic location for safety purposes. ,Sometimes its presence interferes with your home’s aesthetics. Take note that there are a few important things you should know about an electrical panel box cover, before going with a particular design.
When is the Electrical Panel Box Cover Needed?
The electrical panel is vital, yet quite fragile. People should not touch it without knowing what they are doing. The installation also needs protection against water, insects, or any other obstacle that might interfere with it. A cover will help with that. Anytime you need to reach it during electrical renovation or such works, your technician can simply open the cover up to start working.
However, there are also times when you need immediate access to your panel. Short-circuit, overcharge, and other electrical faults can lead to a fire hazard or even an explosion. There are many times when immediately shutting down the system can prevent a disaster from happening. When such a time comes, you will understand why your electrical panel box cover should not be an obstruction.
According to the National Electrical Code, every electrical panel box should be readily accessible. This means that the box should allow people to access it anytime, without difficulty. Considering the risks mentioned above, it is highly advisable never to ignore this regulation. When applying this basic principle, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. The box should not have locks on it, including latches or hooks.
2. The box should be at eye-level elevation, so that you can easily reach it.
3. You should never need any tools to open the box.
4. Your electrical panel box cover should not have any obstacles that make it difficult to spot and access. For example,, you shouldn’t put the panel behind furniture, heavy artistic decorations, and the like.
Ideas to Try
To make your electrical panel box cover look less dull and more interesting, without violating the code, here are some things you can try out:
● Paint it any way you like. You can even hire a professional painter to get the best result
● When making the cover, use materials that go well with your home’s design
● Install a glass door cabinet, but remember not to include a lock or anything else that takes time and effort to open
● Hang a chalkboard, photograph, or any other lightweight decorative item
Fires and explosions due to electrical faults rarely happen, yet it is always a possibility. That is why you should never compromise having an aesthetically pleasing electrical panel box cover over these risks.. Aesthetics matters, but safety should always come first. It is not worth forcing a design that could put your house at risk. If you are unsure whether your design is okay or not, you can call an HVAC expert for consultation.
Electrical Repair Pros
ECM provides electrical repair services with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides electrical services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County.
If you are having electrical problems, our on-call emergency repair specialists are here and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of electrical repairs, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a FREE diagnostic service call (with repair)! Our electrical repairs experts will diagnose your problem and inform you of the issue so that you can have the issue addressed and repaired on the spot! Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our electrical repairs team.