Posted on: December 12, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Houston TX, Local News, TX
Replacing an old or damaged circuit breaker box merits the expense. We depend on our electrical system to work properly to protect us by tripping off when a circuit overload occurs. But, homes built between the 1950s and 1990 may have circuit breakers which may not trip. This poses a serious fire hazard. Or, you have discovered a faulty circuit breaker or an outdated fuse box. So, you need to have a certified, licensed electrician inspect your breaker box.
According to an article from Inspectapedia, the cost of replacing an electrical panel or breaker box may vary, depending on your area.
Quotes from electrical contractors on panel replacement by installing a complete, new, electrical panel, can be expected to vary by area of the country, hardware needed, replacement panel size in ampacity and number of circuits, accessibility to perform the work, and other factors that affect labor or materials. That said, we’ve heard panel replacement costs ranging from $1,200. to $4,000 (April 2007, Northwestern United States). If you are surprised by the quotation you receive from your electrician, ask for the supporting details of the bid or ask for a bid from a competitor too. Shop expertise and workmanship not just price.
Northeastern U.S.: Typically the installation of a new 100-Amp electrical pane in the Northeastern U.S. is around $1,200 to $1,500. (June 2006, Northeastern U.S.). This figure does not include the additional cost for a service panel (150A or 200A), extra labor, or materials for demolition and repair of a wall needed to address an electric panel which is already installed.
Southwestern U.S.: (Such as Dallas Fort Worth) Typically the installation of a new 100-Amp electrical pane in the Southwestern U.S. is around $1,200 to $2,100. (February 2008 Dallas Electrical Costs). A 150A or 200A electrical panel may cost up to $2400. from some installers.
Additional costs for replacement electrical panel installations: may be expected where there is difficulty of access, where demolition and wall repair are needed, where the electrical service is being upgraded to a larger ampacity than that of the panel being replaced, or where there are other special requirements. Typical factors affecting the cost of electrical repair and retrofit work are discussed in more detail just below.
Electrical panel, FPE, Zinsco, or any other brand can be extra difficult when replacing the entire panel if only short lengths of wire are available in the old electrical box. Especially if the new electric panel is physically larger than the one being replaced, the original wires may not reach the circuit breakers in the new panel.
A product which might help when the entire load center (what normal people call the “electric panel”) is going to be replaced. is E-CH’s “Renovation Loadcenters”. The unique feature is that UL listed terminal blocks are provided in the enclosure as a means to terminate existing wires too short to reach the new panel’s branch circuit breakers or neutral bus. A new wire can then be wired from the terminal block to the breaker or neutral.
This is a safer method than the twist-on connectors commonly used, or a separate terminal box, which takes up extra space. I do not discuss this approach further here but more information is available from Eaton Corp., Cutler Hammer Products or through your electrician and electrical supplier.
“RETROFIT COST – Cost of Replacing an FPE Panel using the E-CH Adjustable Retrofit Kit” discusses the costs of FPE panel replacement using Cutler Hammer’s retrofit electrical panel kit. This money-saving option is sometimes suitable, depending on the physical dimensions of the original electrical panel and the ampacity of the new service to be installed.
The cost of not replacing your electrical panel may be much higher if your panel starts a fire. Especially since we are using more and more electrical devices – from cellphones to entertainment systems. Many people in older homes are choosing to upgrade their panels to meet the demand. When your circuit breaker trips frequently, your house doesn’t have enough power to handle multiple appliances that are running simultaneously. Overloading your circuit breaker can create a fire hazard. Using frayed or old plugs and cheap extension cords that can heat them up to very high temperatures. Having a certified, licensed electrical contractor can determine if you need to upgrade.
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