As a homeowner, you may only check your electrical service panel box once in a while.
On the other hand, if you own an older home, your panel may require more than an occasional visit. This may be a sign that your panel needs to be replaced.
How much will that cost? Can you replace the panel yourself? We have the answer to these questions and more, read on!
Homeowner’s Intro to the Electrical Panel
The electrical panel, also known as a breaker panel, fuse box, or breaker box, is a metal box that holds circuit breakers or fuses that distribute power throughout your home.
The electrical panel is what connects the wires from the city or county electrical service to your home.
The electrical service panel can be out of sight, located in areas like the basement, garage, or closet. It might also be located outside your house on the back or side of your home.
Knowing when an electrical panel needs to be replaced is important. You’ll know it’s time to find a replacement when you’re experiencing:
- Frequent breaker trips, blown fuses, or overheating from wiring issues
- Insufficient power and reoccurring circuit failure
- Weather damage and aging from an outdated electrical panel
- Heat or subtle shock when you touch appliances or outlets
Can a Homeowner do Their Own Electrical Work?
Technically, you can, but you might want to think twice before adding electrical systems to your list of DIY projects. You may not aware of how dangerous it can be, and you may violate local codes in the process.
Your local electrician is up to speed on the information listed in the 2020 National Electrical Code.
The National Electric Code (NEC) is published by the National Fire Protection Association and is accepted across the United States as the standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment.
On top of that, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover any injury or damage you sustain from your work.
There are exceptions, of course. Some electrical problems can be solved by replacing outlets or with a wiring upgrade on one particular circuit. If the panel is still in good condition, you may not even need to replace it at all.
On the other hand, if you’re in an older home, the breakers may need additional spaces to provide the power you need or be switched to a new box altogether.
If your circuit breakers are too old to function, the rest of the system is likely aged as well, and you’ll need a professional to diagnose any underlying issues.
[Related: Electrical Panel Sizes for Your Home]
Electrical Safety Concerns
There are good reasons why states and the local governments enforce codes. One thing more dangerous than having an outdated or broken electrical panel is trying to replace it on your own, even if you have experience.
If you do not know what you are doing, the service lugs can cause fatal injuries and fire – especially if you are upgrading to a higher amperage.
Do I Need a Permit to Replace My Electrical Panel?
Yes. There are certain electrical repairs that you can make to your home without a permit.
Other, larger, more potentially dangerous work should always be done by a licensed professional after obtaining the correct permits.
Additionally, if you plan to sell your home, Arizona law also requires homeowners to provide a list of all remodeling and repairs that have been done to the home with or without appropriate permitting.
Permits provide documentation of work that was performed and record who completed the work. This allows home buyers to have confidence in the safety of the home they are purchasing.
We advise you to check your local laws to find out what the permit requirements are for these more advanced electrical projects.
When in doubt, give us a call and we would be happy to give you a free estimate and explain all the legal requirements for specific electrical tasks.
What Does it Cost to Replace an Electrical Panel?
Prices to replace electrical panels are based on the size of the panel (amperage), as well as the age and condition of the other parts of the electrical system
For an accurate estimate of cost, it is best to call an experienced licensed electrician who will ask you specific questions to better understand your needs.
Some electricians offer free estimates so you don’t have any surprise expenses. This can make your job easy, saving you time and money.
Trust the Electrical Experts
We care about you. That is why we provide essential electrical services to both commercial and residential customers in Yavapai County.
Contact us for a free quote, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your electrical systems are repaired or upgraded right to prevent future repairs or accidents.
Jeff Brandlin is the founder of Assurance Electrical Services, LLC. He started in the electrical industry when he was 21 and had worked in several electrical firms before founding Assurance Electrical. Jeff is dedicated to providing the best quality service to his clients and always puts their needs first. Outside work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and children.