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Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker


I apologize if this has already been asked but I wasnt able to locate what I was looking for.

We just purchased a house built in the 1960s, its 1500sf.

Currently, its a 100amp Fuse service. I'd like to upgrade to 200amp circuit breakers. My question is, is it as simple as just replacing the panel or do I need to update some sort of wiring as well? I emailed a few electricians in the area and the rate ranges from 400 to 1750. I'd like to be able to do just the panel but I don't quite know enough to figure out what else will be needed. Obviously, I'm hoping nothing else is needed.

Could you educate me? I had a more thorough post previously but then it disappeared on me so this is my second time writing this. Any questions, please ask.

I also included some pics of what I have.

Thanks again!!

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.

Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

Currently, its a 100amp Fuse service. I'd like to upgrade to 200amp circuit breakers. My question is, is it as simple as just replacing the panel or do I need to update some sort of wiring as well?

This all depends on the existing wire from the utility feeding your home.
There's a likelihood the feed to the house is only sized for 100 amps --- in which case that would have to changed if you want to have a 200 amp service ----- adds $$$ to the cost. In most cases 100 amp service is fine for the average home.

In some areas you may be required to bring the electrical within the home up to current electrical codes once you change the service panel.
These would include things like ---- Arc Fault circuits ---- Ground Fault circuits -- additional dedicated circuits for the kitchen and bathrooms --- etc..
If there is aluminum wiring used within the home it will likely need to be inspected and serviced as well.
This information can be sourced from your local municpal building inspectors before or at the time of applying for the permit.

Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

Unless you are a professional this is a difficult job. You would first have to pull the meter to work safely. Unwiring everything is not a problem, rewiring a new panel will be because the panel will not be the same size. The previous wiring may not reach the new breakers and you may have to box it up outside the panel etc. You will also probably have to fix someone elses bad work. I see THHN type wire with no required conduit going to the panel - bad work. You also have to know the code reasonably well so you don't make any errors. Actually $400 is dirt cheap. You could work with an electrician to learn how its done and pay him for his knowledge etc.

Timothy Miller
Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

Howdy, Consider obtaining 3 electricians to come and bid the job. Your power demand is important- maybe a 100 amp panel with more room might be enough . Electrician can figure the load needed an size the panel accordingly.. But heck a good home wiring book will tell you how to figure the load from you needs then you can make an informed decision. Some other advantages of upgrading some of the wiring is more demands in the kitchen from modern appliances. An Grounding wiring at the outlets...

Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

The first thing to do is check with your local building dept. In some areas you can replace the panel only, others require bringing the electrical system up to current code when the panel is replaced. A 1500sf house probably doesn't need a 200 amp service unless it's fully electric.

Considering the age of the house you may need a new meter base, new drop from the transformer, new SE cable and possible a new transformer to upgrade to 200 amp. That could add significantly to the cost.

Decide what you want to do and get several quotes. Be sure the quotes are itemized so you can do a proper comparison. One quote may be for labor only the other include the panel, breakers, etc.

If you do have Al wiring you will need to get someone familiar with the proper techniques for Al wiring.

Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

Thanks Everyone for your input.

I have two electricians coming tomorrow to give me a quote. My request is fairly simple, but is there a reason why the prices are all over the place? Also, obviusly, I'd rather go with someone at the $400 price BUT how can I tell the difference between the good electricians and the not so good.

I'll report back tomorrow after my appointments. This is def something that I plan to leave for the electrician.

Thanks everyone!!

Re: Going from Fuse to Circuit Breaker

First of all, we have no way of knowing what you ask in your e-mails nor do we know how the recipients interpreted what you ask when they formulated their bids. To be honest I don't see how any could have made a legitimate bid site unseen. Be sure to ask if their bid includes permits, inspections, equipment and supplies. If you get someone who will do the job without permits and inspections run away. They may do an excellent job but if you have a fire your insurance company may refuse to cover damage if new electrical work was done without proper permits and inspections.

Be sure to get an itemized list. There could, for instance, be several hundred dollars difference if one includes a buying all permits and the other requires you to buy the permits

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