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Upgrading an Electrical Panel

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Adding an addition to your home or remodeling it often means that you'll be adding electrical lines for new outlets, fixtures, and switches. Your current electrical panel may not be able to handle the additional lines and may have to be upgraded. You'll need to get a new electrical panel that can handle more breakers and, possibly, supply lines (from the power company). The old electrical lines will also need to be transferred to the new panel.

Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

An electrical panel upgrade isn't a simple task, and someone who has expertise in electrical work should be the one taking on the project. In fact, many municipalities require that you hire a licensed electrician to handle such projects. Additionally, your home insurance will likely not cover damages resulting from electrical work not done by a licensed electrician.
  • You or your electrician will need to choose a new panel and the appropriate circuit breakers. The new panel and breakers will need to be able to handle your load requirements, or the amount of power your circuit consumes.

  • Old breakers may be able to be reused in the new panel, but replacing them with new ones is ideal.

  • New wiring for your addition or remodel will have to be added and connected to the new panel.

  • Old wiring may need to be upgraded depending on the condition of it.


It should only take an electrician a day or two to install a new electrical panel for you, depending on your particular project. The cost of labor varies greatly throughout the country (anywhere from $30 to $140 per hour), but $65 dollars per hour is about average. A rough estimate for the cost of materials would be approximately $500. So, if your job takes eight hours of work, the total cost could fall anywhere from $800 to $1650. This excludes the costs of adding or replacing wires or any other work that might go along with your electrical panel upgrade.

While the cost of upgrading your electrical panel might seem a little steep, sometimes it's necessary to ensure that the electricity in your home is running safely.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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