Electrical Panel Installation
Your electrical panel is the hub for your home’s entire power system. Installing the panel is a complex and potentially dangerous job that is often done along with other wiring or electrical installations and upgrades. The work must be done according to strict electrical codes to minimize the risk of injury and damage. A licensed electrician has the training and skills to complete the work safely, knows how to pull the necessary permits, and carries the appropriate insurance to protect you and your home.
The nature and scale of your project will help determine the difficulty and expense of installing a breaker panel. This type of work is easiest during new construction or a full remodel, but can be done in finished homes. More complex jobs, such as replacing an existing panel in older homes, usually cost more than an installation in a newly built home. Your electrical contractor can evaluate the job to determine what other services may be needed, such as rewiring or a service upgrade, and coordinate the electrical panel installation with any other necessary electrical work.
PLAN AND DETAILS
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Installing an electrical panel is an expensive project that should only be completed by a qualified, licensed and insured electrician. Depending on the size of the panel, the age of your home and when the service is completed, the cost of the project will range between $450-$2,000. Additional work, such as installing or replacing outlets or rewiring, is usually not included in the price of installation. To get an accurate estimate, it’s essential to meet with pros who can discuss the whole scope of the job.
Depending on the circumstances of your project, installing an electrical panel can take as little as a few hours to as long as a few days to complete. Installing an electrical panel in an older home requires considerably more work than in a new construction since everything must be upgraded to today’s code and industry standards. Before any work begins, your electrician will discuss the estimated timeframe for your specific job to address any questions prior to the installation.
A circuit breaker panel or fuse box is the electrical load center for your home. Both systems control your home’s power supply. Each manages the distribution of electricity and will interrupt the supply to a particular circuit in case of overheating or an unsafe power surge, but breakers and fuses use different technology to accomplish this. Fuses use heat-sensitive metal to interrupt the flow of power, while a circuit breaker uses a switch mechanism. Circuit breakers are the most modern of the two systems. Although most fuse boxes remain safe and functional, they are not installed in any new residential work.
The size of an electrical panel is determined by the amount of power provided to your home by your supplier, which is based on your expected usage. Most new electrical panel installations are designed to deliver 100 amps. While this size is sufficient for most common household uses, a 150 or 200-amp service may be a better choice if your usage of electrical devices, appliances, or equipment is higher than average.
Installing an electrical panel isn’t a very disruptive project. Most of the time it takes place in a basement, garage, or utility area. However, the power to your home will be temporarily disconnected and your installation may be part of a remodel, new construction or larger electrical project. You may want to find alternative accommodations if you will be without power for an extended period.