Q:

How do you upgrade an electrical panel?

A:

Quick Answer

Upgrading an electrical panel includes severing the electrical lines in the old panel, removing it and installing a plywood base for the upgraded unit. Once the electrician attaches the new panel to the wall, he makes the connections inside it. Upgrading an electrical panel requires permits and the assistance of a licensed electrician. It is not a do-it-yourself job.

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Full Answer

The cost of upgrading the electrical panel varies with the amount of power the home requires. As of 2015, the minimum requirement is a 100-amp service, although some older homes are currently operating at a lower level. Most upgrades are between 100 and 400 amps.

Upgrading an existing electrical panel to a 100-amp service is the least expensive option and ranges from $800 to $1,200; however, if the upgrade requires a new panel, the cost range increases to $1,500 to $2,500. Upgrading to a 400-amp service can cost as much as $4,000. In some instances, the upgrade requires repairing the existing wiring and installing a copper grounding pole.

The total electrical usage of a home cannot exceed the rating of the panel. If making an upgrade, the homeowner should consider both current and future needs. Contractors are often installing 400-amp services in new homes, which requires using a 400-amp meter and two 200-amp electrical panels.

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