How Much Common Home Electrical Upgrades Will Cost (Including a Whole House Surge Protector)

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated December 17, 2021
A living room with hidden lighting in a vaulted ceiling
Photo: Tom Merton/KOTO / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Electricians charge an average of $50–$100 per hour

  • Electrical work is not usually a DIY-friendly project

  • Adding new electrical wiring goes for $600–$2,300

  • Replacing electrical outlets costs $900–$3,000

  • A whole-house surge protector costs $70–$700

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If your home’s electrical system isn’t giving you what you need (or want), you’re likely due for an upgrade. Electrical upgrades can keep older homes safer, help meet building code regulations, and up the convenience of your living space. Here’s a look at what the most common upgrades could cost.

How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical System?

Electrical upgrade costs vary considerably based on what you need. Here are the average costs for the most popular upgrades.

UpgradeCost
New electrical wiring$600 – $2,300
Upgrade electrical panel$500 – $4,000
Replacing electrical outlets$900 – $3,000
Replacing light switches$100 – $200
Cost of a whole-house surge protector$70 – $700

New Electrical Wiring

The average cost of adding new electrical wiring ranges from $600 to $2,300, according to HomeAdvisor. However, these often aren’t simple projects. You may have worn outlets, outdated fixtures, damaged circuits, or other issues to deal with. A local electrician can evaluate the situation and recommend any needed repairs.

Upgrade Electrical Panel

Per HomeAdvisor, upgrading your electrical panel to support more power can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000 or more. Here are the costs per amperage:

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

Replacing Electrical Outlets

Replacing all electrical outlets in your home costs between $900 and $3,000 for homes with 75 outlets. It may seem like a hefty investment, but electricians offer a generous price break for the quantity, so it’s worth considering.

Replacing a single outlet costs around $200, whether it’s a standard, GFCI, or high-voltage outlet to accommodate appliances that need extra amperage. It’s best to do this as part of a larger project in order to avoid minimum fees.

Replacing Light Switches 

Whether it’s a dimmer for moodier lighting or a timer to turn your fish tank light on and off, replacing light switches can up the convenience and ambiance of your home. Here are the per-switch costs for these upgrades:

UpgradeCost
Double/three-way/four-way switches (for operating multiple items)$75 – $175
Dimmer switches$80 – $200
Timer switches$85 – $200
Smart light switches$85 – $150 

Cost of a Whole-House Surge Protector

According to HomeAdvisor, a whole-house surge protector costs an average of $300, with a typical range of $70 to $700. These provide the best protection from power surges that can fry your electronics. Power strips with surge protectors don’t offer nearly as much security.

Electrical Upgrade Cost Breakdown

An electrician repairing the wiring in a house
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

When considering home electrical upgrades, the bulk of your project cost will come from labor fees. Here’s a breakdown of what makes up your bill.

Labor

Hiring an electrician costs between $50 and $100 per hour on average. However, prices can go as high as double during off-hours and holidays. Plan ahead and get any necessary upgrades done in advance to avoid paying extra.

Materials

Materials will make up a relatively small percentage of your final cost, as the parts themselves don’t often carry a high price tag. The main thing you’re paying for is the electrician’s expertise, who will ensure that everything is safe and up to code.

Additional Electrical Work

Your costs can go double or even higher if your project requires extensive work, such as trenching. Unfortunately, your existing electrical line can’t always support an upgrade, which could significantly impact your cost. Contact your local utility company to determine whether your supply line will need an upgrade to support the additional power. 

Electrical Upgrade Questions and Answers

Can I DIY my electrical upgrades?

Unless you have electrical knowledge and experience, it’s generally never a good idea to attempt anything on your own. Aside from the risks of electrical shock, you also risk power surges, electrical fires, and other hazards from improper installation.

How do I know when to replace my circuit breaker panel?

There are a few telltale signs that it’s time for a replacement. You should consider an upgrade if:

  • Your panel is over 25 years old

  • You’re adding a new electrical system

  • Your current system doesn’t offer the power you need

  • Your home is a jungle of power strips

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