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How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade An Electrical Panel?

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Whether it's a farm home in the country or a large commercial complex in the city, electrical systems are the life and blood of modern properties, and panels are where that electricity is controlled. When a panel upgrade is required for additional power usage or modernization, many different factors can determine the costs. Before a home or business owner decides to commit to an upgrade, he or she should carefully consider all the factors involved.

Reasons to Get an Upgrade

Upgrades to an electrical panel can be made for both functional and financial reasons. Modern homes use a variety of devices, including high-definition televisions and computers, which have power needs beyond the design specifications of homes and businesses older than a few decades. As technology continues to enter every facet of life, power requirements will continue to increase. Prospective homeowners may look at old panels as a sign of an obsolete electrical system in disrepair, so upgrading a panel can make a big difference during the sale of a property.

Some panel upgrades need to be made immediately due to safety hazards and urgent signs of failure. Conditions that would indicate an immediate need to upgrade include flickering lights, buzzing, crackling sounds and blown fuses. In certain scenarios, heat can build up within walls and cause a fire. Any irregular electrical behavior should be looked at by an electrician as soon as possible. While repair may be adequate, electricians will often recommend an upgrade in order to improve the overall quality of the electrical system.

Labor Costs

When upgrading a panel, labor will likely be the most significant portion of costs. Electrical contractors are highly trained professionals that earn a good hourly rate for their services. An average panel upgrade takes about 8 to 10 hours to complete. At anywhere from $50 to $80 an hour, a client can expect to pay between $500 and $800 for their project labor. Typically, wage guidelines are established by an official body like the National Electrical Contractors Association.

These labor costs can fluctuate depending on the existing conditions of the electrical system. An electrician may need to perform extra work when existing wiring and conduits, copper grounding, existing split circuits, new sub panels or access to the exterior source require work.

Material Costs

The retail cost of the panel itself is $300 to $500. Total material costs will depend on the type of panel purchased and any additional features that the property owner wants from their new setup. In some cases, the local utility company will need to install a new power supply and meter to adequately fulfill the property's new electrical needs. Small materials like fittings, connectors and fasteners usually total less than $100.

Additional Costs

Electrical panel upgrades are not always independent projects. An old panel in need of an upgrade may be accompanied by old wiring, worn outlets, outdated fixtures and damaged circuits. Electricians who notice extensive electrical wear and tear may recommend upgrades to a bunch of additional components. These upgrades can significantly increase the costs of a given project, but they are necessary for maintaining a safe and functional power system.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Whether a property owner is looking to increase the use of power or make the property adaptable to future technological advancement, upgrading a panel has a lot of advantages. While many older homes only used enough electricity to require 100 amps, the use of modern equipment often requires as much as 200. By upgrading services to meet these new demands, homeowners can install new devices and appliances without the fear of running out of juice or breaking their existing system.

The main disadvantages to panel upgrades are the upfront costs and the disruption construction can bring with it. Both of these disadvantages can be mitigated by starting the project during an existing renovation. When walls are already being torn down for other purposes, such as a kitchen renovation or home addition, an electrician can jump in and make the necessary upgrades. The savings earned by coordinating projects can be significant.

Time to Upgrade

When a property owner has decided that upgrading is the right decision, he or she should find a licensed and insured electrician with plenty of references in the area. Electrical systems should only be trusted with trained professionals who know exactly how to handle upgrades. In order to keep costs as low as possible, homeowners should request quotes from at least three different contractors. A combination of trust, cost, experience and reputation should be used to make a final decision.

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Debra Kirchner More than 1 year ago
If a Home Owner wishes to simply change their Electrical Service Panel, and keep the same power then the fee is much lower, more in line with what has been talked about.  However, for an actual upgrade from let's say a 100 amp panel to a 200 amp Electrical Panel, or 200 amps to 400 amps, depending on the size of the homes, there would have to be an Electrical Permit pulled through the county where the project is located to make it Legal.  The prices of the panel upgrades vary between the counties, because of the different permit fees.  The amount of time needed to complete the work would depend on how many circuits are in use, and/or have to be wired into the panel.  With all of the new electrical components for our homes, electrical upgrades are needed to help run them all!
Steven Phillips More than 1 year ago
Don't forget the potential upgrades necessary for a 100 amp to 100 amp panel change. Existing grounding is frequently inadequate and needs to be brought up to a safer condition. The 2011 NEC requires AFCI breakers ($60-$80@ installed cost) in all living-dining-bedroom areas, 2014 NEC adds many more areas to this AFCI requirement.
Doug Dorsey More than 1 year ago
i like this site better than Angie's list its more friendly usable
Shane Daly More than 1 year ago
Excellent information. We have received wildly differing quotes so far from $2000 - $7000, maybe this market needs more regulation?
Steven Phillips More than 1 year ago
Market regulation would likely place the cost closer to the $7K estimate. 
John Stolec, Jr. More than 1 year ago
The above mentioned Labor Costs; Material Costs and Additional Costs are certainly NOT accurate for cities and unicorporated areas of San Diego County, CA.  The costs for permits have risen dramatically.  Last week, I pulled a permit for a Main Service Panel Upgrade (from 100 Amps to 200 Amps) in the City of Oceanside.  Cost was $211.34  With the local utility company being overwhelmed with the amount of solar instllations, the lead time for the utility to plan/approve your upgrade can take up to 14 weeks.  My average price for a 200 Amp Main Service Panel upgrade is $2,200.00
MICHAEL singh More than 1 year ago
an average panel change out 200 amp should be between $1,800.00 and $2,200.00 , copper wires to meter can will be at extra cost ,,,200 amp meter/combo change out ,$1,600.00 grding to code , add $350 for permit or home owner pays fees
Louis Roselle More than 1 year ago
Leonardo Villarreal More than 1 year ago
Cost of panel upgrades is incorrect! Must be Handyman prices someone who is not licensed. What about permits, most AHJ want you to be onsite, Thats an additional charge. 
Joan Salamon More than 1 year ago
I want to add a circuit to my panel to add an outdoor outlet for my Christmas decor approximately how much would this cost panel is in the garage, out let would near the outside of the garage?
Richard Devine More than 1 year ago
project not started...waiting on estimate.
shirley-george clabron More than 1 year ago
Excellent information.well we still need to get 2 more estimates and reference .
Matthew Stanley More than 1 year ago
The prices of electrical permits and inspections are so high and although copper is at a low price right now, the amount of available electrical journeyman to hire is really low in the shadow of the demand for them. This has driven electrician wages up and therefore prices of such services. We charged 1200-1500 last year on average and now we have to charge 1800-2000 just to cover rising costs.
ruth smith More than 1 year ago
how to determine how many amps are needed for my home?
Frank Hunt More than 1 year ago
well our upgrade to a 100 amp service ,new panel I was charged 700.00 took about 4 hr's
Thang Duong More than 1 year ago
Whom did you use? Could I have your electrician's contact?
Mark Miller More than 1 year ago
Would like to contact this electrician. It's half of  the price that I was given.

Melvin lowell More than 1 year ago
Break tat down and he's getting paid $55 an hour for him
KELLY DORMAN More than 1 year ago
Thank you for the information. This gives us a good idea of what price range to expect to pay.
Robson Silva More than 1 year ago
this price includes material ?
Armando Cordoba More than 1 year ago
this is not true no major electric company will do this job for that price their minimum is like 3,000 since its at least a man job. The cheapest we do them for as a small business is for about 1,300 including material and that price depends if the wiring in the panel is long enough that it would be able to be connected in the new panel
Melvin lowell More than 1 year ago
Not if the work is 80℅ done and all they have to is snap they meter in and they are donr
Melvin lowell More than 1 year ago
Me and my brother just got done putting a 100 amp main in and we paid in total cost was $485.71. tat was for electrician to come and do his and also having the light company come and put they menter in new box
Steven Phillips 12 months ago
This one speaks for itself, good luck selling your house!
ruth smith More than 1 year ago
window treatment is the most needed  at this time
mike wolfe More than 1 year ago
I want to put a 2  switches in from the top floor to the basement 

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