An electrical panel is a board that regulates the power and distribution of incoming air into the house. Sometimes people call it a circuit breaker box or a load center. Even though a panel can last up to 60 years, sometimes you may need to replace or upgrade it for some reason. So, how much money does it cost to upgrade an electrical panel?
Overall Costs to Upgrade an Electrical Panel
The cost of upgrading an electrical panel varies. You need a technician to inspect your house and calculate the specific number.
The most common upgrade request is for a 200-amp electrical panel, which costs between $1,500 and $3,000. If your budget is low or 200 amps seems like too much for your house, you can ask for a 150-amp service upgrade for $1,000 to $1,200. Or, a 100-amp service upgrade generally costs about $800 to $1,200. You can also get up to a 400-amp panel for $2,000 to $4,000.
The amperage requirement is not the only thing that determines the cost of an electrical panel upgrade.
1. Changing from a Fuse Box
If your house uses a fuse box, switching it to a circuit box might require an additional installation cost of about $1,500 to $2,000. But if your home is already using the circuit system, this cost will not be required.
2. The Electrical Panel Itself
The electrical panel itself is not expensive. A 100-amp panel costs only $50 to $100. A 150-amp one costs about $100 to $150. Meanwhile, a 200-amp panel can cost around $120 to $220.
3. Labor Cost
Labor is the biggest cost. A licensed technician costs around $40 to $100 per working hour. For a project of an electrical panel update, it will take about 8 to 10 hours. Hence, the total comes out to around $400 to $800.
4. Wiring Cost
Upgrading an electrical panel might sometimes require additional wiring jobs. The cost is around $6 to $8 per foot. If you are not moving the panel location when upgrading, you might not need to do any additional wiring.
5. Circuit Breaker
An electrical panel contains several circuit breakers. The regular ones cost about $5 to $10 each. But if you need the specialty breakers for extra protection, the price can be 10 times as expensive. The arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breaker protects against damaged wiring. The ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breaker protects against water damage. Both specialty breakers cost about $35 to $70 each. There is also a variant of breaker that includes protection against both damaged wiring and water damage.
When you need an electrical panel upgrade, it is highly advisable to hire a professional service with a proper license to do the job. Ask at least three technicians to inspect your home and give you a quote. This way, you can compare and choose the most worthy one.
A DIY service might save you significant money, but remember that improper installation may lead to inefficiency, which means you end up spending more money in the long run. Not to mention the risk of a short circuit or fire, or other dangers from electrical errors.