Guide for Contractors [Updated 2024]

Cost to Upgrade an Electrical Panel

Looking to upgrade your electrical panel? Our post has got you covered with detailed information on costs, step-by-step installation instructions, and expert tips for purchasing the right materials. Don't miss out on this comprehensive guide for a successful electrical panel upgrade project.

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Cost Breakdown

Item DescriptionQuantityUnit of MeasureUnit PriceTotal Price
Electrical Panel1Panel$400.00$400.00
Eelectrical Wiring50Feet$0.40$20.00
Labor Cost8Hours$75.00$600.00
Permit and Inspection Fees1Flat Rate$200.00$200.00

Estimate Assumptions

This cost estimate for upgrading an electrical panel is based on several key assumptions and average market prices. The electrical panel priced at $400.00, with an estimated 20 breakers at $5 each. It also assumes using about 50 feet of electrical wiring at $0.40 per foot. The labor cost is based on an estimated 8 hours of work at $75 per hour, a rate that varies by region and electrician's expertise. The permit and inspection fees vary widely by region and are estimated at a flat rate of $200. Do note that these figures are illustrative; actual costs can vary based on local market rates, material quality, and other factors. Other potential costs such as new circuits, sub-panels, or equipment is not factored into this estimate.

Project Timeline

The estimated timeline for completing the electrical panel upgrade is approximately one day. Work would include removing the old panel, installing the new one, adding breakers, and routing the wiring. The actual timeline may vary depending on the complexity of the work, the site conditions, and any unforeseen challenges that may arise during the installation process. It is advisable to discuss the timeline in detail with your electrician to ensure that it aligns with your schedule and to allow for any potential power disruptions.

Guide to Upgrading an Electrical Panel for Residential Contractors

Welcome to our detailed guide on upgrading an electrical panel, an invaluable resource crafted for residential contractors. In this blog post, we delve into the reasons why electrical panel upgrades are critical projects, outline alternatives, and provide thorough installation instructions. Additionally, we share professional advice to guarantee the success of your panel upgrades.

Reasons to Upgrade an Electrical Panel

Upgrading an electrical panel goes beyond simply being a technical upgrade; it contributes significantly to the safety and value of any residence. Here are a few compelling reasons why this project shouldn't be overlooked:

  • Enhanced Safety: An outdated panel can pose significant safety risks such as electrical fires. By upgrading, you enhance the overall safety of a home.
  • Capacity Increase: Upgraded panels allow homeowners to add more appliances without overloading the system, promoting convenience and efficacy.
  • Reduced Energy Costs: An upgraded panel runs more efficiently, reducing electricity bills over time and making the home environmentally friendly.
  • Increased Home Value: An upgraded electrical system is a significant selling point for potential buyers and can boost the property's market value.

Gauging these benefits, an electrical panel upgrade is not just a prudent decision for improved function but also a cost-effective long-term investment.

Alternatives to Electrical Panel Upgrades

While panel upgrades tend to be an effective solution, it’s essential for residential contractors to understand alternative options. Such knowledge allows you to provide comprehensive advice to clients. Here are a few notable alternatives:

  • Circuit Breaker/Subpanel Installation: If the need for an upgrade stems from requiring additional circuits, installing a new circuit breaker or subpanel can be a worthwhile alternative.
  • Fuse Replacement: Occasionally, the issue can be sorted by simply replacing blown or outdated fuses.
  • Surge Protection: In case of frequent power surges, installing a whole house surge protector can help protect against voltage spikes without a complete panel upgrade.

Each of these alternatives has merits and drawbacks, all of which should be weighed against the specific requirements and budget of the client.

Step-by-Step Guide to Upgrading an Electrical Panel

Upgrading an electrical panel is a task that requires meticulous planning and execution. Here’s a step-by-step guide to streamline the process:

Evaluating Necessity

Understand the needs of the home and whether an upgrade is crucial. Issues such as regular tripping, flickering lights, and the inability to run multiple appliances simultaneously indicate a need for an upgrade.

Choosing the Right Panel

Selecting the right panel is key. Consider the usage and future needs of the home. Make sure the new panel matches the home's electrical capacity and complies with local codes.

Obtaining Permits

Before proceeding, ensure you have all necessary permits. This is crucial because most electrical work must align with local and national electric codes.


Turn off the main power and remove the old panel. Carefully install the new panel, ensuring all wires are correctly connected and the panel is grounded. Complete this task cautiously to avoid electrical shocks. After installation, restore power and conduct a system check.

Top Tips for Successful Panel Upgrades

To guarantee a successful panel upgrade, keep these top tips in mind:

  • Focus on Safety: Always turn off the main power before proceeding with the upgrade process. Use appropriate safety gear and adhere to safety guidelines at all times.
  • Hire Professionals: Due to the risks involved, it’s advisable to hire certified electricians for panel upgrades. They're equipped with the skills and know-how to carry out this intricate job safely.
  • Follow Regulatory Guidelines: Always follow local regulations, building codes, and permitting requirements when upgrading an electrical panel.
  • Post-Installation Checks: Be sure to conduct a thorough review of all connections after the installation. Test the electrical system to ensure everything works correctly.

Following these tips will ultimately result in a successful panel upgrade that is safe and effective for the homeowner.


To conclude, updating an electrical panel is a vital service that residential contractors can provide. It greatly enhances the safety and functionality of a home, is cost-effective in relation to alternatives, and promises a satisfying project outcome. Always consider the unique challenges and needs of each project while ensuring adherence to the strictest safety protocols. The successful completion of this task will result in the enhanced safety and satisfaction of your clients, while also increasing your credibility as a contractor.

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