How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade Or Replace An Electrical Panel?
Ashburn, VA

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade Or Replace An Electrical Panel?

Ashburn, VA

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade Or Replace An Electrical Panel?

$851 – $1,707average total cost

The average cost to replace an electrical panel ranges from $850 to $2,500 depending on the amperage. A service panel upgrade to 100 amps costs $850 to $1,600, a 200-amp breaker box replacement costs $1,800 to $2,500, and a 400-amp electrical service upgrade costs $2,000 to $4,000.

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$851 – $1,707 average total cost

The average cost to replace an electrical panel ranges from $850 to $2,500 depending on the amperage. A service panel upgrade to 100 amps costs $850 to $1,600, a 200-amp breaker box replacement costs $1,800 to $2,500, and a 400-amp electrical service upgrade costs $2,000 to $4,000.

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tom Grupa
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Tom Grupa

Cost To Replace Circuit Breaker Box

The average cost to replace a breaker box is $1,475 with most homeowners spending between $1,287 and $1,707. A low-amp subpanel costs from $500 to $1,000 while a 200-amp panel upgrade runs up to $4,000. Total costs depend on the type of home, the number of circuits, and the amperage.

Cost to replace circuit breaker box - chart
Cost to replace circuit breaker box - chart

Our homes are using more energy than ever before, and the electrical system that was installed decades ago may not have the necessary capacity to handle the electrical load required of it today. To keep a house running smoothly, the proper rating of electrical panel can eliminate tripped circuit breakers and prevent fires.

Cost To Replace Breaker Box
National Average Cost $1,475
Minimum Cost $851
Maximum Cost $4,000
Average Range $1,287 to $1,707

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Cost to Replace or Upgrade an Electrical Panel

The average cost to replace an electrical panel is $850 to $1,100 for 100 amps, or $1,200 to $1,600 is a new service panel is needed. To upgrade to 200 amps, expect to spend $1,300 to $2,500, or $2,000 to $4,000 to upgrade to 400 amps. A low-amp subpanel costs $500 to $1,000.

Cost to replace or upgrade electrical panel - chart
Cost to replace or upgrade electrical panel - chart
Cost to Replace Electrical Panel
Amps Average Cost
Upgrade from 60 to 100 Amps $850 – $1,100
Upgrade from 100 to 200 Amps $1,300 – $1,600
Upgrade from 200 to 400 Amps $2,000 – $4,000

Cost To Install New Electrical Panel
Size Average Cost
Install New 100-Amp Panel $1,200 – $1,600
Install New 200-Amp Panel $1,800 – $2,500
Install New 400-Amp Panel $2,000 – $4,000

Electrical panel replacement typically takes 8 to 10 hours which includes 200-amp capability, a new panel with main breaker and ten circuit breakers, labor, and all required materials. The biggest cost for most electrical work is labor. With an electrician's hourly rates at $40 to $100/hour and with the first hour costing $75 to $120, you can expect to spend between $400 and $800 for labor costs.

Upgrading electrical service panel with exposed wiring
Upgrading electrical service panel with exposed wiring

Cost to Upgrade to 200-Amp Service Panel

The cost to upgrade an electrical panel to 200 amps is $1,300 to $1,600, or between $1,800 and $2,500 if a new service panel is required. Installation costs depend on the labor required. New wires may need to be added or replaced, or if anything needs to be brought up to code.

Purchasing a 200-amp panel ranges from $41 for a 16-space panel to $387 for a 42-space panel, if you were to buy one at a local home improvement store.

Cost To Install 100 Amp Service

The average cost to install a new 100-amp service is $1,200 to $1,600, or between $850 and $1,100 if the service panel needs to be replaced. A 100-amp breaker box may be sufficient for households with minimal use of electricity, but most modern homes require 200 amps.

Cost To Replace Fuse Box with Breaker Panel

The average cost to replace a fuse box with a breaker panel is $1,100 to $4,000 and depends on what capacity the new breaker panel can handle. There are a few reasons for a new breaker box installation over a fuse box.

  • Circuit breakers are more convenient. If the electrical circuit trips the switch, you just flip it back on. If a fuse goes out, you must replace it.

  • Old fuse boxes were never designed to handle the electrical load we now require from our homes.

  • Installing bigger fuses creates a fire hazard.

  • Some of today’s appliances require a 220V circuit, and a fuse box can’t deliver that.

Fuse Box vs. Circuit Breaker
Method Pros Cons
Fuse Box
  • Cheaper than circuit breakers
  • More sensitive to current
  • Can be replaced by the homeowner
  • Must be replaced when tripped
  • Fuses are too small for most of the appliances we own
Circuit Breakers
  • Easy to reset
  • Can be used with a GFCI
  • Compatible with today’s electrical requirements
  • Less sensitive to current changes
  • More expensive to replace
  • Must be replaced by a licensed electrician

Electricians identify a 20 amp circuit breaker that has gone bad and replace it
Electricians identify a 20 amp circuit breaker that has gone bad and replace it

Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker Switch or Fuse

The cost replace a circuit breaker switch is $150 to $200, which includes labor and materials. Fuses can be bought for as low as $5 to $40 depending on which type you need for your home. Most of the cost is for labor—the average cost for an electrician is $40–$99 per hour, and this job can take 2–3 hours.

Replacing the Main Circuit Breaker Cost

Replacing the main circuit breaker costs between $40 to $100 for the part and another $40 to $100 per hour to have an electrician install it. The main circuit breaker shuts off the electricity to the house in one move.

If one of the smaller circuit breakers fails to trip, the main circuit breaker will trip, as a backup. It will also trip if there is a significant surge of electricity, such as lightning. If it trips often enough, soon it will need to be replaced. If you notice them tripping regularly, you might look into getting them replaced or upgrading your panel box.

Replacing electrical switch on 100 amp breaker box
Replacing electrical switch on 100 amp breaker box

Electric Meter Box Replacement Cost

The electric meter box replacement cost ranges from $200 to $500 on average and depends on the number of circuits it serves, which can number from 8 to 30. Some are more resilient and can be buried underground.

Electric Meter Box Replacement Cost
Meter Size Average Cost
100-Amp Meter Box $55 – $250
200-Amp Meter Box $85 – $680
400-Amp Meter Box $480 – $765

Older meter boxes contain mercury, which is poisonous. The newer electric meter boxes operate digitally and provide a more accurate record of usage. They also record other information such as the date and time any electricity was used. This enables you to identify your peak usage hours and find ways to cut back, thereby saving money.

Watt hour electric meter box for a home
Watt hour electric meter box for a home

If your meter box needs repair or replacing, it’s not a good idea to try to do it yourself. That can prove to be frustrating, it can take longer than expected, and it could even be dangerous. Hire a licensed electrician to do the job.

New Sub Panel or Breaker Box Installation Cost

Sub-panel installation costs range from $500 to $1,000 on average. The cost to install a 40-amp sub panel is $452 installed, and a 50-amp sub panel is $482 installed. A sub panel box is smaller and usually supplies electricity to a garage or a small building.

The cost is less than what you’d pay for the main electrical panel because it is smaller and has fewer wires running through it. A sub panel is also a good solution to the electrical needs created when you finish out a basement or add on a room. Instead of adding circuit breakers to your main electrical panel, simply add a sub panel.

Cost to Move an Electrical Panel

The cost to move an electrical panel is $800 to $2,500. The lower price is for moving it 10 feet with nothing that needs repairing or brought up to code; the electrician just needs to extend the connections. If you need to rewire a house to bring it outside, upstairs, or add circuits, it will cost more.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Electrical Boxes

Installing an electrical box indoors or outdoors costs the same, about $800 to $4,000, depending on the amperage. The electrical box is usually located outside your home where the electricity enters, for easy access in an emergency. Many homeowners are now moving old boxes outside for this reason. The electrical panel box is usually installed alongside the electric meter.

Placement of the electrical box is guided by The National Electric Codes produced through The National Fire Protection Association. These guidelines affect building codes across the country because of their adherence to safety measures designed to prevent fire.

Additional Costs of Updating Your Electrical Panel

Once you dig into an old, outdated panel, you don’t know what you’ll find. There may be old wiring that needs to be brought up to code, worn parts that need to be replaced, and sometimes drywall that needs to be opened. It’s like any other construction project—you don’t know the actual cost until all is laid bare.

There is also the cost of a permit and the subsequent inspections. Don’t skip this part of the process in trying to save time and money. It may be what keeps your home safe from fire.

New Electrical Panel Costs

The retail cost of a new electrical panel itself ranges from $40 to $1,250 with most spending $160 depending on the amperage and type. In some cases, your power company will need to install a new meter for $200 to $500 or install a new power supply.

After labor costs for installation or any repairs, the electrical panel is the next biggest expense for a homeowner.

New electrical panel unit cost - chart
New electrical panel unit cost - chart
New Electrical Panel Unit Costs
Amps Cost
100-Amp Panel $25 – $199
125-Amp Panel $25 – $233
150-Amp Panel $85 – $360
200-Amp Panel $75 – $870
400-Amp Panel $480 – $765

In some cases, a new panel will cost less than an upgrade because a new construction installation is open (no drywall to open), the wires are new (no wires to update), the panel is new, and everything goes together much faster than digging through an older installation.

AFCI vs. GFCI Breakers

AFCI, CAFCI, and GFCI circuit breakers cost five times as much or more than standard trip breakers at $20 to $100 each. Having a professional install an AFCI or a GFCI circuit will cost $130 to $180. You can also have dual-function circuit breakers and outlets (buy one for about $45)  installed for about the same price.

  • Arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) – This circuit breaker (it’s not an outlet like a GFCI) detects heat that occurs as a result of arcing. Arcing can happen when a mouse chews on a wire or when the appliance you just plugged in starts to overheat. The AFCI replaces a regular circuit breaker in the panel.

  • Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) – This type of outlet is required whenever water is nearby, and the GFCI is the one that shuts things down when water gets too close.

AFCI vs. GFCI Circuit Breakers
Required in bedrooms, dens (anywhere people may sleep), kitchen, and laundry areas Required in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry rooms, garages, crawl spaces, wet bars, exterior outlets, pool and spa areas
Inexpensive to install Inexpensive to install
Interrupts arcing in the wire Interrupts current flowing along the wrong path
Eliminates some fire threats Not suitable for use with refrigerators or freezers

Top Service Panels Brands

Below are pricing samples for electrical panels from top brands. Prices are from Home Depot. The warranty offered can make a difference in your purchasing decisions.

Top Service Panels Brands, Prices & Warranties
Brand Model Warranty Price
Square D Homeline Lifetime $111
General Electric (GE) Midwest 1 year $1,180
Eaton BR 10 year $301
Siemens PL Series Lifetime $256
Leviton  LP420-3B 10 year $266

Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electric Panels

If you have a Federal Pacific Electric panel, you should probably have it replaced. This panel was used extensively in homes built in the 1950s–1980s and are still in many older homes, but they don’t meet today’s safety/building codes. FPE or Zinsco panels fall under the same category. If and when these old panels malfunction, they are considered high risk for fire danger, and it's time to update the entire panel.

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

Homeowners are running more appliances, HD televisions, computers, and smart devices, as well as charging stations. Houses need to have adequate power. If a house’s electrical panel is not up to date, it will overload and malfunction. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should upgrade or replace your old panel and install a new functional electrical system.

Reasons to Replace or Upgrade an Electrical Panel

Replacing or upgrading your breaker box will help to prevent electrical fires in your home, your appliances should work at peak efficiency, and you’ll add value to your home.

  1. Is your home older than 20 years?.

  2. Have you done some remodeling or added people to your family (adding appliances and computers)?

  3. Does your electrical panel feel warm?

  4. Do the breakers trip when you plug in an appliance or while a device is running?

  5. Does your home operate from a fuse box?

  6. Is there a smell associated with your electrical panel?

  7. Do your lights flicker or dim regularly?

  8. Is there a buzzing or crackling noise coming from your outlets?

  9. Is it black around some of the outlet holes?

  10. Do you use lots of power strips?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Updating Your Electrical Box

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Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel?
Advantages Disadvantages
More power into your home The initial cost
A safer home, as fire dangers from old panels and electrical components are eliminated. The mess and inconvenience of a construction project.
The ability to run all appliances and electronics safely  

DIY vs. Hiring an Electrician

Some electrical work is fine to DIY, but a licensed electrician should do big jobs like replacing an electrical panel. In fact, in some places, building codes require this kind of work to be done by a licensed electrician. Here’s why.

  • Safety - wiring installed wrong tends to catch on fire.

  • Knowledge of codes and procedures – the electrician is up to date on those issues.

  • Tools and equipment – Electricians already have the best tools and everything they need to do the job.

  • Experience – they have done the job repeatedly, so they know the safest and quickest way to get the job done.

  • Contacts – Electricians can get parts and materials at a lower cost than you can.

  • Training – electricians undergo regular and consistent training with the latest information in building codes and the newest information on parts such as panels and circuit breakers.

  • Insurance – if something goes wrong on the job (in your home), their insurance will cover the damage. If you do the work yourself and something goes wrong, your homeowners’ insurance may not cover the damage.

Sometimes the best deal cost more money; in this case, hiring the professional is the best deal.

Why Choose a Licensed Electrician?

Updating your electrical system must be done by someone who is entirely familiar with all the building codes and regulations. Errors will lead to electrical fires, which can have devastating consequences. Electrical work needs to be done by a licensed, insured, and bonded electrician. They have the knowledge, experience, and training to do this job safely and on time. It is unsafe to do an electrical upgrade any other way. When choosing your electrician, get three detailed quotes and choose based on experience, insurance, and multiple 4- or 5-star online reviews.

Upgrading an Electrical Panel Without a Permit

Should you upgrade an electrical panel without a permit? Never. You could even get fined for not getting one. Also, the inspection process and accompanying pass will give you peace of mind. A reputable electrician will not skip the permit process. It may cost more and take longer to have inspections done, but in the end, it will ensure the electrical upgrade is done correctly and will operate safely. That alone is worth a million bucks.