If you live in Alberta, Canada, and want to upgrade your home’s electrical panel, knowing how much it will cost is important. The electrical panel is the central part of your home’s electrical system. Moreover, upgrading it can improve your home’s safety, energy efficiency, and electrical capacity. However, the cost of upgrading a residential electric panel can vary depending on factors like panel size and the electrical contractor you choose.
This blog post will discuss the factors in calculating the cost of upgrading, the types of electric panels, and why you need one. Moreover, you will learn why you must hire a reputable residential electrical contractor in Albert. Let us dig in.
When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?
The lifespan of electrical panels can vary between 25 and 40 years. To determine if it’s time for an upgrade or replacement, keep an eye out for these indicators:
- Lights that blink, dim, or flicker
- Circuit breakers that require frequent resetting
- Audible sounds of buzzing, sizzling, or cracking coming from outlets
- The need to unplug certain appliances to use others
- Excessive dependence on power strips
- Any visible damage to the panel
- Appliances operating at lower-than-normal efficiency
What Factors Go Into Calculating The Electrical Panel Cost?
The cost of upgrading the electrical panel depends on many different things. These can include the panel type, amperage, brand, materials, location, labor, and permits. The cost to replace a breaker panel is over $1200, but let’s discuss the factors that affect the cost of residential electric panels.
Types Of Electrical Panels
Several electrical panels exist, including the main lug panel, the main breaker panel, subpanels, and fuse boxes. The main breaker panel regulates the circuit breakers and the electricity consumed within a household. The type of electrical panel required to replace an outdated one determines the cost of a new one.
Electrical Panel Amperage
A new electrical panel’s amperage, or strength of the electrical current, significantly impacts its cost. Boosting the amperage involves eliminating resistance in the circuit to allow a stronger current to flow. Upgrading the power line can significantly increase expenses. Below are the prices associated with upgrading an electrical panel’s amperage.
If you live in an old home with a power supply of just 60 to 80 amps, an upgrade may be necessary to meet the energy demands of a new home. Usually, a minimum of 100 amps is deemed suitable for a home. To upgrade an 80-amp panel, you can install a 20-amp subpanel or a new unit within the existing box, provided it has sufficient space. The cost to replace it is between $500 and $1500.
Upgrading to a 150-amp service ranges from $500 to $1,850. Opting for 150 amps provides greater electrical flexibility when several appliances operate simultaneously. Thus, homeowners can install a completely new electrical box or upgrade their existing one using a sub-panel, with the latter being more popular.
Homes that exceed 1,800 square feet have high energy needs, feature additions, garages, and operate multiple appliances. Therefore, they can derive advantages from a 200-amp electrical panel. Upgrading to such a panel can range between $750 and $2,000. These costs may be high because you will need high-strength wires, top-quality panels, and a reputable Calgary residential electrician to assist.
Upgrading to 400 amps becomes necessary when specialized equipment or electronics require a considerable amount of electricity. This upgrade can range from $1,500 to $4,000 or higher. The utility company installs two 200-amp panels at opposite ends of the residence and replaces the wiring and meter base.
Location Of The Panels
People can discover electrical panels and boxes that must comply with specific location rules and guidelines throughout a house. In modern homes, builders commonly situate electrical panels outside and secure them in a waterproof box, allowing for convenient accessibility. However, outdoors, relocating the electrical panel requires significant wiring and can cost between $1,500 and $2,500.
The cost of replacing electrical panel materials depends on the specific requirements of the task. When upgrading or replacing the electrical panel, it may be necessary to replace worn-out wiring, damaged circuits, and old receptacles. The price of the project will increase accordingly with any additional materials required.
Labor And Permits
The labor price ranges between $40 and $120 per hour for electricians, largely determining the cost of replacing a residential electric panel. The process can take 4 to 8 hours, with additional costs for any rewiring or moving of the panel and up to $450 for accessing wiring in the walls. The town requires a permit for the work, which may cost anywhere from $50 to $300 or more. They inspect the work after completion to ensure that it is done correctly. Drywall repair and patching may also add to the overall cost.
What Are The Types Of Electrical Panels?
Main Breaker Panel
The main function of the main breaker is to regulate the power supply to the connected circuit breaker panels and circuits. The cost of installing a new main breaker box typically ranges from $500 to $2,000, depending on factors such as the amperage of the unit and the number of circuits associated with it.
A main breaker with low amperage and a few circuits would be at the lower end of the cost spectrum, while a breaker with an amperage of 300 or 400 amps would be at the higher end of the price range.
When homeowners upgrade their residential electric panel, they often replace the old fuse box with a circuit breaker box better suited for the new panel. This replacement prevents the wiring from overheating and melting. Replacing a fuse box with a circuit breaker box typically ranges from $1,500 to $2,000.
Thus, this price can go up if the wiring needs a complete overhaul. On the other hand, replacing an old fuse box with a similar type of fuse box can cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000.
Main Lug Panels
A main lug is often called a downstream panel or a secondary panel. It lacks a main breaker and has more circuit breakers than the main breaker panel to reduce electrical system stress. The main lug panel functions as a distribution hub for downstream subpanels.
Therefore, installing a main lug panel can range from $400 to $1,750, depending on the amperage and circuit capacity.
To expand the number of circuits available in your electrical system, install a subpanel if your primary breaker box is already at full capacity. Adding a subpanel ranges from $530 to $1,940, depending on the amperage and the number of circuits it can accommodate. The number of circuits varies between four and twenty, depending on the specific design of the sub-panel.
Why Should You Hire A Calgary Residential Electrician Rather Than DIY?
When it comes to electrical work in your home, it may be tempting to take on a do-it-yourself project. However, there are several reasons why hiring a professional Calgary residential electrician is better than attempting the work yourself. Here are some of the key points to keep in mind:
- Working with electricity is risky and can result in serious injury or even death if not done properly. A professional electrician has the training and experience to ensure the job is done safely.
- All the work must comply with a Canadian electrical code and regulation. A professional electrician is familiar with these codes and will ensure that the work is done in accordance with them.
- A licensed electrician will provide high-quality work that meets or exceeds industry standards.
- Hiring a residential electrical contractor in Alberta may be more expensive upfront, but it can save you money in the long run. Poorly done electrical work can lead to costly repairs or even a complete rewiring of your home.
Thus, employing our Red Seal-certified electricians will be the best choice for electrical work in your home. They will offer safety, compliance, quality work, cost-effectiveness, and time-saving benefits that DIY projects cannot match.
How Can You Save Money While Replacing The Residential Electric Panel?
As you have learned above, you can undoubtedly still cut costs even if you do not do the electrical work. You can follow these tips:
Bundle The Tasks
Bundling tasks into a single job can often lead to discounts offered by professionals, as it eliminates the need for additional service calls. For instance, when upgrading electrical panels, consider adding outlets, replacing the meter box, wiring new additions, and replacing the panel simultaneously.
Ask A Pro To Purchase
This won’t be the first time an electrician buys electrical supplies; they may have the contacts to get the same products at lower prices. Thus, it will give you an edge over the local hardware store.
Clean Up The Area
As you may know, the electricians charge you hourly, so if you have cleaned up the area before they arrive, it will save you money. Clear out potential obstacles and the space where the work must happen. In addition, they choose to begin working as soon as they arrive rather than cleaning the space first, which saves them time.
Collect Multiple Work Quotations
It is always beneficial to ask for an estimate of costs from multiple electricians, as you will get an approximate price you will need to pay. Moreover, it will also help you negotiate with your chosen electrician for the charges you must pay.
Staying within the budget when upgrading electrical panels can be daunting, but it is better than any electric fire hazard at home. The cost of upgrading can vary depending on factors such as the size of your home and the type of panel you choose. Hiring a professional residential electrical contractor in Alberta is crucial to performing the upgrade safely and correctly.
Neglecting to upgrade electrical panels can lead to the risk of an electrical fire, and older panels may not be equipped to handle the power demands of modern appliances and devices. Thus, investing in modern electrical panels is a worthwhile investment in the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system.
At Ampt Over Electric, we have been helping homeowners in Calgary upgrade their residential electric panels for decades. We are licensed residential electricians with A+ BBB ratings. Our team of electricians is equipped to assist with various electrical needs, including addressing safety concerns, water damage, renovation projects, etc.