How much does it cost to upgrade to 200 amp electrical service?
Cost to upgrade electrical service. Upgrading to 200 amps generally costs $1,500 to $3,000 for a 200 amp home.
For 400 amps or more, the price rapidly increases.
In 2014, Angie’s List members across the nation reported paying an average of $1,932 just to replace a circuit breaker panel.
Factors Affecting the Cost of an Electrical Panel Replacement
Area of the country: prevailing wages and other costs for electricians vary by area of the country as well as city, town, or rural rates.
Electrical Work Permits and Electrician Licensing Fees: required vary by municipality as do the fees that must be paid for those permissions to install an new electrical panel.
Amount of labor required to remove the old panel: this may vary widely depending on where and how the old electrical panel was installed, the amount of demolition, the necessity to perform cosmetic repairs to a surrounding wall or other surface, and even the working space to access the old panel.
Condition of the existing electrical wiring or its insulation: may affect panel replacement cost. Copper in electrical wiring does not deteriorate with mere age (contrary to what a New Paltz NY contractor told one of our clients). But the wire insulation may be damaged and unsafe from age, or from overheating. (Overheating a wire, unlike mere age, can also damage the copper wire itself.) Damaged electrical wires may have to be replaced. Replacement does not necessarily mean that the entire circuit needs to be replaced. Often overheating occurs locally, such as close to a connection or in a light fixture. The electrician may be able to cut back the damaged wiring, install a junction box, and extend the old circuit to the new electrical panel.
Obsolete electrical wiring: such as knob and tube wiring does not necessarily have to be replaced (by code) but may be damaged, modified, or otherwise unsafe. Since a traditional knob and tube electrical circuit lacks a ground wire, these circuits should be upgraded to new wire whenever possible.
Physical size of the old electrical panel: may be too small to preclude its re-use with a panel retrofit kit, so the entire box needs to be replaced.
Short electrical wires in the old panel may make it difficult or impossible to connect the existing wires to breakers in a new, physically larger electrical panel. Extensions, junction boxes, or a retrofit panel kit may be needed. We discussed this concern just above
Other new electrical work: may end up being part of your project. Since it’s going to cost just to have your electrician walk in the door to do any job, it is often more economical to batch together multiple electrical tasks into one larger project. Discuss with your electrician other electrical improvements such as adding circuits, installing grounded electrical receptacles, adding a switch you’ve always wanted, and other improvements that may be less costly when added to the electrical panel replacement project.
Upgrading or Replacing a Panel for Safety
There are some electric panels that were installed several decades ago that have since been discovered to be inadequate or unsafe. The following list includes some of the older panels that are known to be problematic.
Zinsco Electric Panels
Zinsco panels stopped being manufactured in the 70s due to design flaws that resulted in circuit breakers melting and posing fire hazards. In some cases, the circuit breakers looked like they flipped, but were in fact still allowing power to flow.
Fuse boxes are something from the past. Instead of circuit breakers, the electricity flowed through fuses. Unfortunately, fuses were only designed to handle 30 to 60 amps of power. In today’s world, our appliances require anywhere from 100 to 200 amps or more. Fuse boxes are likely to be overloaded often and you may discover you are replacing fuses often. To read more about 200 amp panel upgrade click here.
Some may assume they will just use bigger fuses to compensate, but this is a dangerous choice. Using bigger fuses when the box was designed for smaller fuses can result in overloading and overheating. This can spark a fire. Another major risk with fuse boxes is the fact that while changing a fuse, you could accidentally stick your finger in the slot where the fuse goes and end up with a life-threatening electric shock.
Pushmatic Electric Panels
Pushmatic panels are known to be lacking a main breaker that allows you to cut power with the flip of a single switch. The panels also have a problem with breakers tripping and not wanting to be reset. The breakers are likely weak and will not stay on.
Federal Pacific Electric Company Electric Panels
This is an extremely common electric panel with millions being installed throughout the 1950s to the 1980s. The “Stab-Lok” panels have been proven to be flawed and can cause electrical shock or fire. According to consulting engineer, Dr. Jesse Aronstein, “The presence of a Federal Pacific panel in a home should be classified as a ‘Safety Defect.’…There is no question but that the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® panels should be replaced. There is no practical and safe alternative.”
Because the issue is so serious, the state of New Jersey brought a lawsuit against the company due to the lack of testing and safety violations in relation to the manufacture of these electric panels.
If you know you have one of these panels in Bradenton, Sarasota Florida give Performance Electric a call to get a 200 amp panel installation or 100 amp panel installation. If you are not sure, call us and schedule a home safety inspection where we can tell you what kind of panel you have as well as if it should be upgraded or replaced. Performance Electric your number one choice for electrical service and panel change outs and panel upgrades in the Bradenton, Sarasota area.