How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker Box?

Jacqueline Zenn
Written by Jacqueline Zenn
Reviewed by Salvatore Cutrona
Updated February 14, 2022
Man turning switch on circuit breaker
Photo: The Toidi / Shutterstock

Highlights

  • On average, you should budget around $1,150 to replace a circuit breaker box.

  • Your costs could jump higher if your home needs more amperage.

  • Labor rates will vary based on the job’s complexity.

  • You should consider replacing your breaker box if it is more than 25 years old.

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If your electrical connections aren’t as powerful as they once were, you may need to repair or replace your circuit breaker box. Boxes and electrical panels older than 25 to 40 years can be a fire hazard, and having an older electrical system may even affect your insurance costs because they are deemed less safe. So being aware of the age and status of your electrical panel is a key safety measure for any responsible homeowner.

The costs for the actual circuit breaker boxes themselves are pretty standard—about $10 to $100, depending on the breaker type. However, the labor costs may vary depending on where you live. Electricians in most areas generally charge between $40 and $120 per hour for their time, but labor costs may vary according to the scope and complexity of the project.

What Factors Influence The Cost of Replacing a Circuit Breaker Box?

The costs for replacing a circuit breaker box are based on several factors, including the amperage and type of box you need, the labor cost of the electrician (typically $40 to $120 per hour), and more.

  1. The size of your home

  2. Where you want the breaker installed and whether you must move it

  3. The amperage you need

  4. Type of circuit breaker

  5. Other associated work, such as adding new outlets or drywall repair

  6. Labor costs

The size, location in your home, and type of circuit breaker box you have all influence the cost of replacing it, along with the complexity of the fix or replacement and associated labor. Replacing a circuit breaker box usually takes around four to eight hours per panel, but moving panels, adding amps, or other associated work can add to the project timeframe and labor fees.

If you are increasing the amperage of your circuit breaker box, you will also want to contact your utility company to ensure your system and corresponding supply line can support the added power. For instance, if you have a 150 amp system and want to upgrade to 200 or 400 amps, you’ll need to make sure that your electrical system can support that first before you start plugging things in and flipping switches.

Types of Circuit Breakers

There are three basic types of circuit breakers:

1. Standard Circuit Breakers

These are the typical circuit breakers you’ll find in most single-family homes.

2. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Circuit Breakers (GFCIs)

These types of circuit breaker boxes have specialized breakers designed to prevent electric shocks in the event that the device comes into contact with water.

3. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Circuit Breakers (AFCIs)

These are required by the U.S. National Electrical Code for certain types of circuit breakers in your home, and they are distinguished by how they break the circuit when an electrical arc or a loose connection in the wiring is detected.

The latter two types of circuit breaker boxes tend to be more costly, but your home’s set-up or local codes and regulations may require that you have these specialized types of breakers for your safety.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker by Type?

Depending on your home and its location and structure, you may have an electric panel or circuit breaker box that encompasses some or all of the above types of circuit breakers.

Note that GFCIs and AFCIs can cost between $30 and $100 per breaker, while standard circuit breakers are around $10 per breaker (not including labor costs for installation). 

The amperage of your circuit breaker box also plays a role in the cost of a replacement. For instance, the cost of a new electrical panel increase with the amount of amperage:

AmperageCost
100 amps$500 – $1,500
150 amps$500 – $1,750
200 amps$750 – $2,000
400 amps$1,500 – $4,000

Adding the cost of the materials and labor (plus any other work that needs to be performed to get the new breaker boxes and panels up and running) will give you an idea of the total costs for the electrical project that you have in mind.

Cost Breakdown of Replacing a Circuit Breaker Box

There are several line items you can expect to see on a contractor’s estimate for a circuit breaker box replacement, including but not limited to:

  • Circuit breaker box or boxes: You’ll likely need a new box or two, depending on the details of the project, especially if you are upgrading or moving electric panels.

  • Supplies (wiring, new breakers, etc.):  These costs depend on the needs of the repair or replacement as well, and can be inexpensive for a basic replacement or higher if you are adding panels, outlets, switching to a new type of circuit breaker box, or upping the amperage.

  • Labor: The labor cost of the electrician(s) to replace a circuit breaker is usually around $40 to $120 per hour. This could bump higher if the job requires more complicated work.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker Box Yourself?

Even if you consider yourself particularly handy, working with electricity is extremely dangerous and should be done by a local electrician to avoid injury and ensure everything is up to code. 

In addition, professional electricians are insured in case of any accidents that may occur on the job and may offer warranties on their work or the components they install—just ask during the hiring process.

Circuit Breaker Box Replacement FAQs

Why do I need to replace my circuit breaker box?

There are many reasons that you may need to replace or update your circuit breaker box:

  • You want to add more outlets or large appliances to your home

  • You want to move your electrical panel(s) to a better or safer location

  • Your circuit breaker box or fuse box is more than twenty-five years old or you simply want to update it (outdated boxes with poor connections can be a fire hazard)

  • Your electrical power supply is not as strong as it should be and you notice things like flickering lights or brown-outs.

  • Your energy costs are increasing and you’ve made no other changes (dated fuse boxes or breakers are less efficient) 

  • You are looking to sell your home somewhat soon–the electrical system will be something that home inspectors will examine closely before a deal is closed

Keeping your electrical system in excellent condition is important for many reasons, from making sure that you can always charge your laptop or smartphone to preventing house fires or other catastrophes. Also, knowing when your circuit breaker box needs to be repaired or replaced and understanding the costs associated–and having an electrician in your area that you can call if necessary–are all part of being a savvy and safe homeowner.

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