It has only been a century and a couple of decades (1879) since electricity had become a primary source of light and energy in many American homes. But pioneers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison might not have imagined how much of an astronomical volume of electricity is consumed by the contemporary United States of America in order to keep its proud civilization running. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the nation’s residential sector has consumed a total of 1,410 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in year 2016.
In a graphic data presented by Home Advisor, the United States consumes 20% of the world’s electricity supply. From that colossal nationwide perspective, it is easy to analyze how the demand for electricity has evolved – and it is experienced by every American household in this generation.
Back then, the standard modern home only requires a minimum of 60-amp capacity. Today, the ideal demand for every residential property is 200 amps. As technology improves, so does the threshold of electricity consumption for every household. It is for this reason (among others) that the average American should take note of upgrading/replacing his or her home electrical panel whenever it is necessary.
Warning: DIY Not Advisable
As mentioned earlier, replacing the electrical panel is necessary for safe domestic energy consumption. But prior to discussing the practical question of the average cost to replace electrical panel, it is important for every homeowner to understand that opting for DIY to cut down significant expenses is not an advisable strategy. On Time Electric underscores the four important reasons why replacing electrical panels are best left for the professionals:
- It can cause electrical fire.
- Insurance companies do not cover electrical damage.
- It can cause permanent electrical malfunction/s.
- It can cause serious injury or death.
One can easily stress the importance of professional aptitude in terms of dealing with electrical works through statistical facts. The National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) ranked electrocution as the sixth most common cause of workplace death in America, accounting for the average 300 deaths per year. If experts are already faced with those terrible odds, it makes no sense for less-skilled consumers to take such risks.
Average Cost & Breakdown
Considering that one understands the importance of relying for professional help, then how much does it cost to upgrade electrical panel? The price for replacing a circuit breaker is determined by how much amperage a homeowner requires. Here is a basic itemization of costs according to Rempros – Remodeling Professionals:
- 100 amps (4 to 5 labor hours): $750 to $950
- 150 amps (5 to 6 labor hours): $850 to $1,150
- 200 amps (5 to 7 labor hours): $1,000 to $1,650
While the electrical panel unit and the electrician’s fee accounts for the majority of the cost to replace breaker boxes, there are other factors that contribute to the overall expenses. These features include installation of updated service units (e.g. meter upgrade), carpentry fee for drilling power feed, and installation of new sub panels.
5 Signs for Electrical Panel Replacement
Although every homeowner is required to update his or her house’s electrical panel, not every residential unit/property is due for circuit breaker replacement. So how is it determined whether the house requires electrical panel upgrade. Ideal Service enumerates the top 5 obvious signs every resident should notice:
- If the house is very old (with only 60-amp capacity).
- If the house is a bit old (dated 1970’s and using fuses instead of circuit breakers)
- If the homeowner constantly uses multiple extension cords.
- If the frequency of ‘circuit tripping’ causing more visit and oversight to the circuit box.
- If the homeowner is upgrading in order to power up advanced technology (e.g. electric car).
Low-cost Areas & Local Services
When asking ‘how much does it cost to upgrade electrical panel,’ one could not help but wonder whether it costs less to get replacement service elsewhere. As it happens, there are around 5 locations in the country where labor costs are cheaper than the national average fee. These are the following areas in the United States according to Fixr, along with the list of reliable local service providers for each place:
North Port (Sarasota), Florida: 20% less
- Halo Electric, LLC
- Luminous Electric, LLC
- Mister Sparky
- HomeSmart Central, Inc.
- TK Electric, Inc.
Everett, Washington: 14% less
- In-House Electrical Services, Inc.
- Dear Electric, Inc.
- SeaTown Electric Corporation
- Dick Howard & Sons Electric, Inc.
- Bachtel Electric, LLC
Lakeland, Florida: 13% less
- Allstar Electrical Experts, Inc.
- A+ Electrical Design Service, Inc.
- David Hayford Electric, Inc.
- Captain Electrix, Inc.
- Natural Electric, LLC
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 12% less
- Hamilton Lighting Rods
- Reid Electric and Construction, Inc.
- Mister Sparky
- Edge Electrical Contractors, LLC
- Advent Electrical
Athens, Georgia: 9% less
- W B Lighting Rods
- Lightning Defense, LLC
- Liberty Electric and Lightning, LLC
- John Lee Electric
- Power Services, LLC
Top 5 Brands & The Blacklist
As an important component of the overall average cost to replace electrical panel, choosing the ideal brands for a replacement circuit breaker unit can create a huge impact in the investment. But prior to enumerating the recent top sellers, it is important for every consumer to be aware what varieties of electrical panels no longer satisfy the updated national safety code. Energy Today highlights the following blacklisted trade names that fuel the average cost to replace breaker box:
- Federal Pacific Electric
Given that the black-listed and ‘under-observation’ brands are already mentioned, it is time to take note of the following brands that make the best cut in recent years. These are the list of consumer’s favorite brands according to Proud Review:
Siemens Main Lug Indoor Load Center
Amazon retail price: $49.97
Square D by Schneider Electric QO3040M200VP QO Indoor Main Breaker Load Center
Amazon retail price: $278.54
Siemens E0816ML1125S Surface Mount Load Center
Amazon retail price: $38.98
Square D by Schneider Electric HOM2448M100PCVP Homeline Indoor Main Breaker Load Center
Amazon retail price: $69.39
Siemens Main Breaker Indoor Load Center
Amazon retail price: $69.97