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 These panels can last for decades, but if yours is outdated or too small for the amount of electricity you’re using, you risk both low efficiency and system overloads. 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.
The average cost of an electrical panel upgrade is $1,300–$3,000.Get Free Estimates
The average cost to move an electrical panel is $800–$3,000.Get Free Estimates
Rewiring an electrical panel typically costs $1,500–$10,000.Get Free Estimates
What Size Electrical Panel Is Best for Your Home?
The cost to upgrade your electrical panel largely depends on how many amps you need. 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, 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:
- Air conditioners
- Convection ovens
- Commercial welders or saws
- Electric vehicle charger
- Finished basement or garage
- Hot tubs
- Room additions
Free quote: Get your quote on electrical panel upgrades today
When To Upgrade an Electrical Panel
Electrical panels can last anywhere from 25–40 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
- Over-reliance on power strips
- Damage to the panel
- Appliances running at low efficiency
- Manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric Panel or Zinsco (known to be unsafe)
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. More amps cost more.
- Installation versus upgrade: It’s more expensive to install an entirely new system than to upgrade an existing panel.
- Other services: You’ll have to pay more if the panel needs relocating or your meter box needs replacing.
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 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 for labor.
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, replacing the breaker costs nearly as much as the whole panel. In this case, it’s usually best 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 subpanel 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 depends 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) cost $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.
Free quote: Get your quote on electrical panel upgrades today
Pros and Cons of Upgrading Electrical Panels
✔ 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
There’s a reason electricians must be trained and licensed: Working with household electrical systems is dangerous. Upgrading or replacing your electrical panel isn’t a job you can do yourself. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 46,700 house fires are caused by faulty electrical wiring every year. Electrical work is best performed by those who are trained in the correct electrical codes and procedures.
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 who offers a warranty on their work.
- Get all estimates in writing.
Free quote: Get your quote from electrical panel upgrade pros today
How To Save on Electrical Panel Costs
While you shouldn’t try to save money by doing the job yourself, you can still cut costs with the following tips.
- 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 to compare.
- 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 can be expensive, 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Electrical Panels
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