Your home’s electrical panel connects public utility lines to your electrical system, distributing power throughout your house. These panels can last for decades, but if yours is outdated or too small for the amount of electricity you’re using, you risk both low efficiency and system overloads. In this cost guide, we’ll explain what you can expect to pay to replace or upgrade your electrical panel, plus how to tell when it’s time to do so.
Average Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel
The average cost of an electrical panel upgrade is between $1,300 and $3,000. This is the typical range for upgrading from 100 amps to 200 amps; for smaller or larger upgrades, you may pay anywhere from $800–$4,000. Below are the factors that determine the total cost:
- Panel size: Panel size ranges from 60–400 amps.
- Installation vs. upgrade: It’s more expensive to install an entirely new system than to upgrade an existing panel.
- Other services: If the panel needs relocating or your meter box needs replacing, you’ll have to pay more.
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to a 100-Amp Service
Most residential buildings have at least a 100-amp panel, but some older homes may have circuit breaker panels as low as 60 amps. Upgrading to a service of 100 amps is only suitable for homes that use very little electricity.
|Upgrade to 100 amps||Cost|
|Panel plus installation||$800–$1,500|
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to a 200-Amp Service
Given the number of electrical devices homeowners use daily, the standard panel size for modern homes is 200 amps. Most electrical panel upgrades involve replacing a 100- or 150-amp panel with a 200-amp panel.
|Upgrade to 200 amps||Cost|
|Panel plus installation||$1,300–$3,000|
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to a 300-Amp Service
Upgrades to 300-amp panels are less common since homeowners who need more than 200 amps typically upgrade to 400 amps. You can still find these panels and have them installed, though.
|Upgrade to 300 amps||Cost|
|Panel plus installation||$1,800–$3,500|
Cost to Upgrade Electrical Panel to a 400-Amp Service
Only large, luxury homes need 400-amp electrical service panels. An upgrade of this size is the most costly, especially if it’s a smart panel.
|Upgrade to 400 amps||Cost|
|Panel plus installation||$2,000–$4,000|
Cost to Replace vs. Upgrade an Electrical Panel
Replacing an old panel with a new one of the same size versus upgrading to a larger size won’t save you much money, since roughly the same amount of labor is required to install it. You’ll save about $50–$100 on the new electrical panel itself, but pay the same amount in labor costs.
Cost to Install a Main Breaker
A panel’s main breaker controls the flow of power to the other circuit breakers. The cost to replace the breaker switch itself is relatively low. If the circuit is worn out, the replacement cost for the breaker is nearly as high as the whole panel. If this is the case, it’s usually a good idea to install a new breaker panel.
|Replace main breaker switch||$200–$300|
|Replace entire main breaker||$500–$2,000|
Cost to Install a Subpanel
An alternative to electrical panel replacement is installing a sub-panel to increase amperage, usually to one specific area of a home, like a new addition, garage, or workshop. A subpanel is a good option if your main panel is still in good shape and relatively new.
|Panel Size||Installation Cost|
Cost to Move an Electrical Panel
In some cases, upgrading may mean moving the electrical panel to fit new building codes or improve access to it. The cost of this process will depend on how far the panel needs to move and how much new wiring is needed.
|Low-end (e.g., moving panel 10 feet)||$800–$1,000|
|High-end (e.g., extensive rewiring)||$1,000–$3,000|
Cost to Install an Electric Meter Box
If you get an electrical service upgrade, you may also need a new meter box to measure the energy usage in your home. The meter box will need replacing if it’s old or damaged. Typically, this service is performed by your local electrical company instead of an electrician.
|Meter box only||$50–$250|
|Meter box plus installation||$1,800–$3,500|
Cost Factors for Electrical Panel Upgrades
On top of circuit breaker panel replacement, here are some other potential upgrades your electrical system may need:
- Replacing a fuse box with a circuit breaker box: This will cost approximately as much as installing a new electrical panel at $1,200–$4,500, depending on size.
- Replacing a circuit breaker switch or fuse: This is comparable to replacing a main breaker at $150–$250 per switch.
- Indoor versus outdoor electrical panels: Moving an indoor panel outdoors is labor-intensive and will usually cost $1,000–$3,000.
- Outlet breaker replacements: Arc fault connection interrupters (AFCI) costs $35–$50, and ground fault connection interrupter (GFCI) breakers cost $35–$60.
- Labor costs: Licensed electricians typically charge $50–$120 per hour.
- Permits: Your electrician will help you get a permit, which may cost $50–$300, depending on your location.
- Additional repair work: If the panel is moved or rewiring is necessary, you may have to pay for separate repair costs, like new drywall.
Pros and Cons of Upgrading Electrical Panels
Here are the benefits and drawbacks of an electrical panel upgrade:
✔ Increases power output and efficiency within your home
✔ Protects against electrical fires
✔ Increases your home’s resale value
✘ Is expensive
✘ May be disruptive
DIY vs. Professional Electrical Panel Installation
Working with household electrical systems is dangerous, and there’s a reason electricians must be trained and licensed. Upgrading or replacing your electrical panel isn’t a job you can do yourself. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are an average of 46,700 house fires caused by faulty electrical wiring every year. Electrical work is best performed by those who are trained in the correct electrical codes and procedures.
What Size Electrical Panel Is Best for Your Home?
Your home’s size and electrical needs—referred to as its electrical load—will determine the best amperage for your new panel. You can find online calculators to help you come up with a ballpark number, but a more specific figure will require an in-home consultation with an electrician.
Since 2015, new homes have been built with at least 200-amp service, which is the standard. If you have a small home or lack large electrical appliances like HVAC systems, however, you can sometimes use a 100-amp panel without problems. It’s unlikely that you’ll need more than 200 amps unless you have a very large home or run a home business with commercial electrical equipment.
You should recalculate your home’s electrical load if you add any of the following new appliances or renovations:
- Hot tubs
- Convection ovens
- Air conditioners
- Commercial welders or saws
- Electric vehicle charger
- Finished basement or garage
- Room additions
How To Save on Electrical Panel Costs
While you shouldn’t try to save money by doing the job yourself, below are some ways you can cut electrical panel upgrade costs:
- Calculate your electrical load: A precise calculation will ensure you don’t pick a larger panel size than you actually need.
- Replace the panel, not the old wiring: Entirely rewiring a home can cost upwards of $15,000, so you can save by opting to upgrade just your electrical box.
- Get multiple quotes: Request written estimates from at least three local electricians.
- Think long-term: Panel upgrade costs may be steep, but you’ll save money in the long run and get a return on your investment when you sell your home.
Upgrading your home’s electrical panel comes with a high price tag, but you’ll see an immediate difference if you choose to do so—especially if it’s been a long time since your home was upgraded. This isn’t a DIY home improvement project, but you can exert some control over the process by ensuring you understand the workings of your home’s new electrical panel.
When to Upgrade an Electrical Panel
Electrical panels can last anywhere from 25 to 40 years. That’s a wide range, so look out for these signs to determine when it’s time for a replacement or upgrade:
- Blinking, dimming, or flickering lights
- Frequent need to reset circuit breakers
- Buzzing, sizzling, or cracking sounds coming from outlets
- Need to unplug some appliances to use others
- Overreliance on power strips
- Damage to the panel
- Appliances running at low efficiency
- Manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric Panel or Zinsco (known to be unsafe)
How to Hire a Professional
Here are some tips for hiring an electrician:
- Make sure the person working on your home is currently licensed, bonded, and insured.
- Check the electrician’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page and online reviews from previous customers.
- Ask about their experience with this type of job, especially if you want an upgrade of more than 200 amps.
- Look for an electrician that offers a warranty on their work.
- Get all estimates in writing.
FAQs About Electrical Panels
Is it worth it to upgrade my electrical panel?
Yes, it’s worth it to upgrade your electrical panel, particularly if your home is old. You’ll greatly reduce the risk of electrical fires due to an overload, and your system will work more efficiently.
Does upgrading your electrical panel increase your home’s value?
Upgrading your electrical panel does increase your home’s resale value by making it safer and more efficient. Potential buyers will know there’s far less risk of shortages and system overloads.
How much does it cost to upgrade an old electrical panel?
On average, the cost to upgrade an old electrical panel of 100 amps to a new one of 200 amps is anywhere from $1,300–$3,000. Upgrading from 60 to 100 amps costs $800–$1,500, replacing a 200-amp panel with a 300-amp panel costs $1,800–$3,500, and upgrading to 400 amps costs $2,000–$4,000.
How much should a panel upgrade cost?
A panel upgrade should cost between $800 and $4,000. Most electricians charge $50–$120 per hour for labor, and panels tend to cost between $100 and $500. Here’s how that adds up by the size of the new panel, including both materials and installation:
How much is it to upgrade an electrical panel from 100 to 200 amps?
Upgrading an electrical panel from 100 to 200 amps will usually cost between $1,300 and $3,000.
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