If you think it’s time to replace your electrical panel, you’re probably dreading the bill. Most people will only ever need to replace their home’s electrical panel once. It’s not a common issue to encounter and may not be an issue at all throughout the lifetimes of owners of new construction whose homes were wired for modern day demands.
If your house was built before 1980, you might need to replace your electrical panel. The old equipment is no longer on its way out – it’s completely past its prime. Just how much it costs will depend on a number of factors. It undoubtedly will not be cheap, but there’s also the chance that it won’t be as much as you’re expecting. It all starts with determining the kind of panel you need and how it will be replaced.
How Many Amps Do You Need?
Although there are three levels of amperage, just about every Arizona homeowner will require the same level. It’s rare that your needs will deviate from the standard panel.
All older electrical panels are 100 amps, and these are the panels that are now causing problems for people who use so much more electricity now than they did decades before. Since 100 amp panels are obsolete, the majority of electricians will not repair or replace them. It’s the same as replacing Netflix with a VCR.
Rather than repairing or replacing a 100 amp panel, you should upgrade to a safer and newer 200 amp panel. This is the only option for homeowners who are still using the same old panel that was installed at the time their home was originally built.
Modern panels are almost always 200 amps. These panels can easily be used with aerial drop wiring. If you currently have aerial wiring, you’ll be able to keep it when you replace or repair your 200 amp panel. If you live in a community with a strict homeowner’s association, they may require that your exterior wiring be hidden undergrown. That’s not a problem – a 200 amp panel can be fed from below just as easily as it can be fed from above.
There’s really no reason to equip the average home with a 400 amp panel. These panels are designed to run things like laundromats, large retail stores, or medical facilities. The average home will never come close to the demand that a 400 amp panel is prepared to provide, although there may be a few exceptions.
If you have a large facility on your property, like a woodworking shop, a hobby pottery shop with kilns, or a massive hydroponic garden, you’re going to use a lot more power than the average home. Very large heated pools with spa jets will run perfectly well with a 200 amp panel, but if you have a large draw feature of that nature in conjunction with several other large draw features, you might want to upgrade to a 400 amp panel.
What Can I Expect to Pay?
Replacing a standard home electrical panel will always cost less than replacing or upgrading to a larger 400 amp panel. The processes and requirements are very different for both kinds of upgrades.
For Standard 200 Amp Panels
Replacing a standard panel often involves more than just replacing the panel. Wiring may need to be upgraded, and aerial or underground wiring may be need to be installed. It all depends on the needs of your home and the overall condition of your electrical system.
The national average for starting costs is about $1,800, and this does not include any additional work that needs to be performed at the time the electrical panel needs to be replaced. The average cost that homeowners actually pay is somewhere around $2,500. Some jobs are slightly more complicated than others. It’s best to get an accurate estimate from a reputable electrician.
For 400 Amp Panels
Upgrading to a 400 amp panel usually starts at about $4,500. The additional work can quickly become costly. If the home or property was originally wired for a 200 amp panel, the whole property will require upgrades. This includes the installation of an underground pipe, as 400 amp panels cannot be fed aerially. This is a very complicated process, and it’s best to discuss the details with a certified electrician.
Does My Electrical Panel Need to be Replaced?
If you believe your electrical panel needs to be replaced or upgraded, the first thing you should do is contact a reputable Tucson electrician. The contractors at JCP Electric are highly experienced, certified, and insured. Our contractors are trained according to the highest safety standards and are prepared to use the latest technology to improve the safety and efficiency of the electricity that powers your home.