Can I upgrade my electrical panel myself?

upgrade my electrical panel

When your electrical panel gives signs that it needs to be replaced, you have to respond immediately to prevent further problems. An electrical panel upgrade is not a DIY project that a homeowner should try to tackle. It can be very dangerous to you and your home, and should always be left to the professionals.

Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel Yourself?

It is essential to understand that replacing an electrical panel is a complex project. You will be exposed to the risk of electrical shock or electrocution. You need to understand what replacing an electrical panel entails before embarking on it. The following are some crucial factors you should consider to help you make an informed decision:

1. Severity of Damage

Panel upgrades are very common, with new renovations or additional appliances it may be time for your electrical panel to be upgraded. However, if you want to upgrade your electrical panel yourself, you need to understand the high risks you are taking for the safety of you and your home. Are there worn-out components? Is there an internal fault? Is the wiring exposed? You need a trained and certified electrician to come in and do an inspection of your current electrical panel to determine what steps need to be taken.

2. Technical Knowledge

Electricians are trained and certified professionals that know the ins and outs of electrical systems. There are electrical codes put in place that must be followed to ensure that things are done correctly and safely. If you are not fully trained and up to date with certifications, you are risking the possibility of electrical shocks or electrocution, or even worse death.

3. Permit

One of the challenges faced by many homeowners asking “Can I Upgrade my electrical panel myself?” is having the permission to execute the job. Before attempting to upgrade the electrical panel yourself you are required to have an electrical permit. Besides, you must be eligible before you can apply for the permit.

Can I Upgrade My Electrical Panel Myself?

Technical Answer : NO

Any experienced electrician will strongly advise against any homeowner upgrading or replacing their electrical panel.

Working on an electrical panel, you will be dealing with high voltage levels of electricity. This is undoubtedly a dangerous task that can result in severe injuries or death if anything goes wrong. Nothing is worth risking your life for when you can hire professionals to do it for you. Furthermore, upgrading or changing an electrical panel is very complicated. It may involve installing new cables, and you will have to work inside an electrical panel – it is dangerous. Leave the task to licensed electricians.

Choosing to work with an electrician to upgrade your electrical panel offers you peace of mind and safety. You have the assurance of getting the best services without hassles. You do not have to bother about how to get a permit and the stress involved in getting the upgrade done perfectly.

Legal Answer : YES

The City of Calgary allows eligible homeowners to upgrade their electrical panels by themselves. Meanwhile, the city of Calgary lists the requirement for eligibility to be given the permit. Apart from the permit, other requirements must be met before you can upgrade your electrical panel yourself.

What Do You Need To Replace An Electrical Panel in Calgary?

The following are what you need to upgrade or replace an electrical panel in Calgary:

  1. An electrical permit issued by the City of Calgary
  2. Arrange an inspection and booking with Enmax
  3. Determination of the size of the electrical panel needed
  4. Ascertaining if the replacement of meter base or electrical mast is needed
  5. The panel location must meet the code

The above requirements are mandatory before an electrical panel can be upgraded or replaced in Calgary.

What Are the Rules for a Homeowner’s Electrical Installation Permit?

To be eligible for the City of Calgary’s homeowner’s electrical installation permit:

  1. You must be the legal owner of the home (with proof)
  2. You must live in the house or intend to reside in it (it must not be a rental property)
  3. You will do the upgrade yourself (with proof that you are qualified)
  4. The electrical panel must only service the home
  5. Authorization from the condo board, but it will cover only the unit you live in It should be noted that homeowners of apartment-style condos are not eligible for this permit.

The city of Calgary will issue you the Homeowner’s Permit to upgrade your electrical panel yourself. Meanwhile, it requires some processes or steps before the project can be completed:

  1. After obtaining the permit, schedule an appointment with Enmax for a date to turn off the main power to the home.
  2. A City of Calgary electrical inspector will be scheduled for inspection on the same day as the panel is changed. The aim is to ensure that the work is completed according to the city’s electrical code standards. The inspector will inform Enmax when they can restore power. Note that Enmax will not restore power except on the instruction from the city.
  3. The installation of the new electrical panel will take place after the power has been turned off. All circuits will be connected to the new panel, including breakers. Appropriate labeling will also take place. The task should last about 6 to 8 hours.

This post is part of our commitment to transparent, helpful, and informative content for our readers and visitors. For more details on our editorial process and how we ensure accuracy and reliability, please visit our Editorial Process page.


Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes is a seasoned marketing professional with two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating Ampt Over Electric's brand. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

Jorden McCullough,

Master Electrician, CEO of Ampt Over Electric.
Jorden, is a highly skilled Red Seal Master Electrician, with over 20 years of experience serving Calgary’s communities in a commercial and residential electrical capacity. AMPT Over Electric was established in Alberta in 2009 and proudly serves Calgary and surrounding areas. Our goal is, and has always been, to build relationships in business on integrity and respect. Our commitment to our community is to provide safe, high-quality electrical service. In order to guarantee that, we only employ competent Calgary electricians who share the same passion that we do.

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