How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Electrical Panel?

by Team HomeServe
Electrician s Hand Turning On Circuit Breakers

Most of the time, it’s great to own an older house. They often offer nice details like real wood finishing and ornamental styling that attract the eye. Plus, even the scuffs and dings hold a lot of history. But there are also details you can't see so easily — like how the electrical panel is holding up.

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Old houses often come with outdated electrical equipment that can't handle power surges or the power loads required of a modern house. An old panel can also be a fire hazard, especially if it uses fuses.

If the electrical panel in your house is over 25 years old, the best thing to do is to upgrade or replace it along with any outdated electrical outlets you might have. Here’s a peek into the associated costs.

Replacing an Electrical Panel

Signs you need to replace an older electrical panel include:

  • The circuit breakers or fuses pop constantly.
  • The service is set at 60 amps.
  • You’re always having to unplug something to run something else.
  • A lot of old and messy wires are connected to the service panel.

The biggest question on your mind is how much it’ll cost to replace the electrical panel. This can be broken down by the type of work you need to have done.

Replacing an old electrical panel with a new one typically costs, on average, about $1,800 (CAD 2,443), according to Forbes, though you might pay anywhere from $300 to $5,000 (CAD 407 to CAD 6,786). The cost will fluctuate depending on how big the panel has to be to provide power to your home. So, it may cost more for a larger, luxury home than an average-sized house.

You'll probably have to upgrade the wiring when replacing an old panel. HomeGuide says this will run from $5 to $17 (CAD 6.79 to CAD 23) per square foot, including the cost of materials and professional installation. That totals $10,000 to $30,000 (CAD 13,573 to CAD 40,718) if the whole house needs rewiring.

Replacing switches or outlets to handle the new electrical system usually costs about $80 to $200 (CAD 109 to CAD 271) per item.

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How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade an Electrical Panel to 200-Amp Service?

The required minimum standard for an electrical panel today is 200 amps. If your panel can't handle this amp load, you'll need to upgrade your system.

If you're going to increase it by 100 amps, you can expect the upgrade to cost around $1,280 to $2,700 (CAD 1,737 to CAD 3,665), including professional installation. If you want to install a 400-amp panel, you can expect to pay around $3,800 to $7,000 (CAD 5,158 to CAD 9,501).

The material on the project is expected to be around $100 to $500+ (CAD 136 to CAD 679+), with the rest of the cost generated by labor and permit prices. Hiring an electrician usually costs between $50 and $130 (CAD 68 and CAD 176) per hour. Electrical permits typically cost around $30 to $500 (CAD 41 to CAD 679).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Fuse Box With a Breaker Panel?

Replacing a fuse box costs $1,100 (CAD 1,493) on average, according to Forbes, and most homeowners spend between $400 and $2,000 (CAD 543 to CAD 2,715). Installing a new subpanel alongside a fuse box increases the cost by around $400 to $1,800 (CAD 543 to CAD 2,443). The electricity has to be shut off by the utility company before work can begin. All the wiring has to be removed and then attached to the circuit breaker panel.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Single Breaker Switch or Fuse?

Replacing a circuit breaker or a fuse is something most homeowners can do themselves. Circuit breakers generally go for $20 to $110 (CAD 27 to CAD 149), and fuses run from $3 to $10 (CAD 4.07 to CAD 14).

It's much easier to replace a fuse than a circuit breaker — hence the cost difference. A fuse screws in and out, but the circuit breaker has wires attached to it that have to be reattached to the new breaker before you replace it.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace the Main Circuit Breaker?

Typically located at the top of the electrical panel, the main breaker switch is used to turn on or off all the power going to the electrical panel. Replacing a main circuit breaker costs more than a regular circuit breaker at around $200 to $600 or more (CAD 271 to CAD 814+) with professional installation.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.