You’ll likely need an electrical panel upgrade to meet current National Electrical Code (NEC) standards for any electrical panel replacement or major electrical work to your home.
A 200 amp electrical panel upgrade costs about $1,630 to $4,070, with a National average cost of $2,730. If updating the home’s entire electrical system, you could spend anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 or more.
Electrical panels can last 25 to 40 years. Age is not always a primary concern when an electrical panel upgrade is necessary. Some electric panel brands are inherently faulty and need replacement to meet modern safety standards.
Regardless of age, we recommend upgrading your existing panel in older homes when the electrical service or panel is too small, at maximum capacity, or lacks current UL safety standards.
How Much Does it Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel
You might be wondering how much it costs to upgrade electrical circuit panels. Using this simple electrical panel cost calculator, you can get a cost estimation for your replacement cost. Select the three options below. Choose your state to get an electrical cost estimate considering each area’s cost of living.
How Much Electricity Does Your Home Need?
For most modern homes, 200 amps are enough to power most household appliances, air conditioning systems, well to pump water, and much more. Adding new appliances can alter your electrical demand and power requirements.
You should use a residential electrical load calculator to calculate your electrical demand based on your home’s electrical needs to consider installing 400 amps for large homes and commercial electrical installations.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to 100 Amps
The national average cost to upgrade your current panel to 100 amps is $1,365. The price can vary from $815 to $2,035 or more depending on the amount of work necessary and the state where you live.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to 150 Amps
On average, upgrading your electrical panel to 150 amps typically costs around $2,048 – but prices can range from a low of $1,223 to as high as $3,053 depending on the amount of labor required and which state you call home.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to 200 Amps
On average, a 200-amp electrical panel upgrade costs around $2,730 nationally. However, the fees can range from as little as $1,630 to up to $4,070, depending on your location and the amount of work needed. During the upgrade, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum 200 amp wire size.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to 300 Amps
Upgrade your electrical panel to 300 amps, and you can expect the national average cost for this project to be $4,095. However, costs may range from $2,445 to $6,205 or more, depending on the level of work required and where you live.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to 400 Amps
On a national scale, converting a modern electrical panel to 400 amps can cost anywhere from $3,260 up to $8,140 or potentially even more—all depending on the extent of labor and your geographic location. On average, you’re likely looking at approximately $5,460 for such a project.
Tim Wells, a former electrician and the founder of Garage Transformed, told us that the main factor determining the need for 400 amp service is the size of the house, the type of equipment that is powered, and the number of modern appliances or electronic devices that require power.
Suppose a house has many large appliances and multiple heat pump systems that require much power. In that case, a 400amp service may be required to safely provide adequate power to maintain electrical flow and reduce the chance of any overloads or short circuits.
He continues by stating that other factors that may determine the need for 400 amp service include the location of the building (i.e. any extreme weather conditions that may require increased power loads) and the age of the building (older buildings may require increased power protection due to their age and design).
Our takeaway is that the need for 400 amp service is all about how much power you’ll use simultaneously. Electric appliances and heating and cooling systems are the largest draws on your home’s electrical system.
Modern larger homes will have more electrical circuits because the NEC requires each room to have a dedicated circuit. All circuits will rarely operate at once in a home. However, there will be peak times when more power is needed to sustain constant electric flow. In these times, you’ll need 400 amps not to overload the electrical system.
Cost to Upgrade to a Smart Electrical Panel
The cost to upgrade to a smart electrical panel is similar to any other electrical panel upgrade.
However, a smart electrical panel is necessary for other smart house upgrades, such as lighting management and automation systems. A smart load center is critical if you’re considering upgrading your existing home into a smart home.
The cost to upgrade to a smart electrical panel varies depending on the project’s brand and scope. Generally, a basic smart load center will cost between $500 and $1000 for the panel and circuit breakers, plus professional installation.
Cost to Install a Main Breaker
The cost to install a main breaker will depend on the size of the main breaker and the installation’s complexity. Installation may be relatively simple and inexpensive if the location is already pre-wired for a main breaker is between $150 and $350.
However, the costs can quickly increase if complex wiring needs to be done to accommodate a new main breaker. Installation could range anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the situation.
Cost to Install a Subpanel
The cost to install a subpanel depends on the subpanel size, the type of wiring used, and the labor involved.
Generally speaking, for a standard residential subpanel installation with basic wiring, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
|50 amps||$530 to $1,415|
|100 amps||$1,040 to $2830|
|150 amp||$1,448 to $3,848|
|200 amp||$1,855 to $4,865|
Cost to Move an Electrical Panel
Sometimes, you’ll need to move an electrical panel to make accessing it easier and meet current electrical code standards. The cost to move an electrical panel will depend largely on how far you need to move the electrical panel.
|Distance to Move Electrical Panel||Cost|
|Short distance (10 feet or less)||$800 to $1,200|
|Longer distance or extensive rewiring||$1,200 to $4,000|
Cost to Install an Electric Meter Box
The cost to install an electric meter box depends on the complexity of the installation and any additional permits required. Electric meter boxes typically range in price from $200 to $800 for a basic installation of a meter box.
If you need a completely new meter box installation, you should expect to pay between $1,500 to $4,000, including trenching, underground conduit, service wire, and meter box installation.
For overhead service, you should expect to pay between $1,250 to $2,850, including the overhead service mast with weather head, service wire, and meter box installation.
|Electric Meter Box||Cost|
|Meter box only||$200 to $800|
|Underground service with meter box||$1,500 to $4,000|
|Overhead service with meter box||$1,250 to $2,850|
We will look closely at the signs an electric panel replacement is needed, identify the brands you should replace, and the upgrade cost.
Why Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?
Upgrading your electrical panel is an important step in ensuring the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system. Older electrical panels may not be able to handle the increased electrical demand of many modern homes, which can lead to unreliable power, tripped breakers, and even fire hazards.
Upgrading to a larger, more reliable panel can help prevent these problems and ensure your family has all the power they need without any dangerous risks.
Insurance companies often require an electrical upgrade when you have fuse boxes or certain brands of electrical panels like Federal Pacific to reduce the risk of a fire claim.
Upgrading a home’s electrical panel is often necessary when:
- You have clear signs like flickering lights, burning smell, signs of wear, or other electrical safety concerns
- You plan home renovations that involve the electrical system
- You have existing fuse panels or certain old electrical panel brands
- You need to add major electrical appliances
- You are adding solar panels
- You are adding a whole-house generator
- You are adding an EV charger for an electric car
- You are adding a hot tub or swimming pool
- You are adding air conditioners
Will You Need to Rewire Your House?
While you may need some electrical rewiring, you often only need to replace faulty wiring. While grounded electrical wiring is best, not all ungrounded wiring needs replacement when performing any electrical upgrades.
According to NEC guidelines, it’s wise to use GFCI protection for wiring with no ground because they can detect problems and cut power to faulty wiring to prevent electric shocks as a life-saving measure. It also signifies a problem needing troubleshooting and repair by a qualified electrician.
What is Involved in Upgrading an Electric Box?
An electrical panel upgrade involves replacing your current circuit breaker panel box with a new one that meets current NEC codes and UL Safety Standards.
When replacing your house’s electric box, you need to know what’s involved in planning accordingly. It can be very challenging, depending on how extensive the work is. A simple swap out can be done in a few hours, whereas more extensive jobs can take up to a week to complete.
While no two replacements are the same, here are some of the most important.
- Pulling an electrical permit, if required by your city or county.
- Disconnecting the wiring to the old breaker box.
- Removing the old panel box and installing the new panel.
- Installing the new electrical panel and connecting the wiring to the new circuit breakers. You may need to move the distribution panel location to meet current codes, lengthen the existing wiring, or run all new circuits.
- Installing the main circuit breaker if one does not already exist.
- Having a final electrical inspection of the electrical work by the local building code inspector.
Is Replacing the Circuit Breaker Box Necessary?
As we can see, replacing your electrical panel can be an intimidating thing to do. Many people will ask if it is worth spending money on a new box, considering the older one is still working.
Necessity is often subjective and ultimately comes down to personal preference. Many unsafe conditions can last for years without incident, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. We feel it’s best practice to do electrical panel upgrades and quickly replace unsafe or outdated components or practices.
It may be too late to realize an electrical panel is not working correctly. Sometimes people may think that when their electrician recommends replacing their breaker box, they are doing it because they are only after the money.
As home inspectors, we have specific responsibilities to advise our clients on the house’s condition and any apparent safety issues they might face soon. The primary concern is our client’s safety, families, and homes. Even though replacing a circuit breaker box can be costly, protection should always be a top priority.
How Long Do Electric Upgrades Take?
Every homeowner faced with making the hard decision to replace their electrical panel may need to consider the amount of time it would take.
The time frame we will be looking at is essential because you cannot expect your home to have electricity running during this time. Any appliances like refrigerators will be left unpowered.
- The usual time for replacing or upgrading an electrical panel is generally between 6 to 8 hours.
- Some electric upgrades involve rewiring, or relocation could take several days.
- Suppose the power has to be terminated to make the service panel upgrade. In that case, You will need an inspection from a building code inspector to authorize the electric company to set the meter and turn the power on. This can add up to one week to the job’s length.
The time can vary greatly depending on the following:
- What work needs to be done.
- The number of circuits that have to be relocated.
- The time required to coordinate with the electrical company properly and more.
Do You Need an Electrical Permit to Change the Panel?
Most electrical panel upgrades require an electrical permit. A permit ensures that work is safe, complies with the local electrical code, and must be obtained by a licensed electrician.
Doing electrical work is incredibly dangerous, and performing an electrical panel replacement or upgrade is not a DIY project you should try to tackle.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately 46,700 home electrical fires occurred annually between 2015 and 2019 due to inadequate electrical wiring or malfunctions. To safeguard your family and property from a potential fire hazard, it is strongly recommended to utilize trained electricians who are proficient in following correct codes and procedures when performing electrical work.
Any fire damage from improper electrical installations, negligence, and code violations can lead to a denied insurance claim.
Additionally, if the homeowner decides to sell their property, they must disclose any known information, including changing the panel or wiring. Usually, they ask when the electrician changed the electric panel and for a copy of the permit.
A lack of permits may have a negative effect. The buyer may:
- ask for a price reduction
- ask for an experienced electrician to provide a professional inspection
- have trouble with their insurance company
It can even be a deal-breaker if the potential buyer suspects the contractor did not do the work correctly.
A permit and an inspection by the local building code inspector may seem like a hassle, but they will pay dividends in the long run. They can be an investment in your property as they may save you thousands of dollars.
Electrical Panel Upgrade FAQs
What is an electrical panel upgrade?
Upgrading an electrical panel replaces an existing electrical panel with a new one. This upgrade can provide a larger capacity for the home to handle more power, allowing additional appliances or lighting fixtures to be added. An upgraded electrical panel can also include additional breakers, safety features, and improved wiring and connections.
Is an electrical panel upgrade worth it?
Upgrading an electrical panel provides homes with better protection from frequent power surges, improves property value, and enhances overall safety in the home. Many electric companies provide incentives for upgrading your panels, so it’s worth looking into before starting any work on your home!
Does upgrading your electrical panel increase house value?
Yes, upgrading your electrical panel can increase a home’s value. Upgrading the electrical box will ensure that it meets the latest safety standards, which can appeal to potential buyers.
Should I upgrade to 200 amps?
Upgrading to a 200-amp electric panel is one of the best ways to ensure your home’s safety, especially when running large appliances. Before upgrading, discuss with a licensed electrician what other requirements, like metering equipment, may be needed.
How long will it take to upgrade an electrical panel?
The time an electrical panel upgrade takes depends on the specific details of your residential home and how much work needs to be done. A local electrician can assess your situation and give you an accurate timeline. Small upgrades may only take a few hours, while large electrical upgrades could take a couple of days or more.
What is the most expensive part of replacing an electrical panel?
Professional electrician labor is often the most expensive part of replacing an electrical panel. They must cover the cost of employees, trucks, tools, insurance, and permits to ensure the job is done correctly.
When to upgrade electrical panels?
When to upgrade an electrical panel will depend on the electrical panel’s condition and your current needs. While a circuit breaker box can last 40 to 60 years, you may need an upgrade sooner if you are remodeling and need additional circuits or damage to the box’s components.