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How Much Does It Cost to Install a 20 Amp Circuit Breaker?

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how much does it cost to install a 20 amp circuit breaker

In the US, the typical cost of a circuit breaker installation is between $30 to $300, depending on whether it’s DIY or done by a licensed electrician. How much does it cost to install a 20 amp circuit breaker, to be exact? Expect it to not go beyond $150 in most states.

Generally, the higher the amps, the greater the cost. You can arguably cut the costs more since 20 amps are fairly low. Read on to find out how.

The Usual Cost Considerations

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Every electrical work is obviously different. Installing a 20 amp breaker may simply mean replacing and adding that breaker to the main panel or subpanel. Or it could be part of a whole overhaul of the entire property’s electrical system.

We also need to make it clear whether you mean to install a 20 amp breaker along with entirely new wiring and a panel or are going to be replacing an existing one.

  • If it’s the former, you’ll need a permit, so you’ll likely have no other choice but to hire an electrician.
  • If you’re replacing, you can do it yourself with no permit since you’re technically just repairing the panel. Of course, this is assuming you already have knowledge and experience with electrical work, particularly being able to add and replace breakers safely.

You can brush up on how to do this by watching this brief video:

With those things out of the way, let’s take a look at what may cause your expenses to balloon or haul down when doing something as seemingly mundane as adding a 20 amp breaker to a panel.

1. Circuit Breaker’s Type and Cost

This may well be your only expense if you’re not paying an electrician to do the installation for you and have all the required tools and knowledge. Circuit breaker price varies a lot, even if you’re looking at units and types with the same amperages.

How much does a 20 amp circuit breaker cost? At Lowes, you can get a Siemens 20-amp double-pole breaker for $14.98. However, there are single-pole breakers with the same amperage on Amazon that sell for only $6, especially if there are discounts being offered by brands.

There are four-pole varieties that cost around $38, though. Moreover, certain brands, like Connecticut Electric, generally have costlier offerings that can reach up to $80.

Obviously, opting for more expensive options will only cause you to go beyond the average cost to install a 20 amp circuit. Still, you might discover more low-cost options in your local hardware, so it is well worth paying them a visit.

  • Don’t forget that AFCI and GFCI breakers will cost more to install – usually, up to 2x or 3x a standard
  • If you’re installing multiple 20-amp breakers at once, your electrician may be more than willing to give you a discount.

2. Cost of Hiring An Electrician

When anticipating the total cost to add a circuit breaker, take note that US electricians charge per hour. They charge between $75 to $200 on average. Still, don’t be surprised if you encounter some with a higher or lower asking price, especially if you take the time to look for every option available in your locale.

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If you’re only installing on an unused space or replacing a broken breaker, it should be a breeze for most electricians.

  • On average, it will only take them 20 minutes to 40 minutes to add the breaker or replace one, assuming the existing wiring is all
  • Add 20 minutes to that total to remove and replace the panel cover, and we get a range of 45 minutes to 1 hour for the entire job.

That means you need to prepare as much as $200 for an electrician, based on the said average. States with the highest electrician rates include New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California, so don’t be surprised if your bill goes over the ranges I’ve highlighted here if you reside in any one of them.

Additionally, remember that electricians charge more or less depending on their current level or rank. A master electrician won’t have the same rates as an apprentice or a standard journeyman.

3. Complexity and Type of Electrical Work Involved

More or less, the calculations I made above apply to the average cost to install a dedicated 20 amp circuit in most US households. The cost dips further if it’s just a simple replacement job.

But what if you’re doing it as part of a larger project like installing a new electrical circuit?

If that’s the case, you’ll also need to factor in the cost to install a new electrical circuit, which can go upwards of $500 to $2,200, again, depending on the state. After all, this includes installing new wiring. More than likely, the circuit breaker installation costs are already included in that estimation.

The same goes for any repairs necessary. Any further job (electrical or otherwise) that needs to be done will inevitably add to the total bill.

Conclusion

When figuring out how much does it cost to install a 20 amp circuit breaker, don’t forget to first know the answer to “How much does a 20 amp breaker cost?” Afterward, take note of your local electricians’ rates and, more importantly, dive into the details of the specific electrical work you need to get done.

What’s certain is that rates and breaker prices have risen and will likely continue to do so. This is why it’s well worth putting a figure on your electrical expenses and adopting strategies that cut costs as much as possible.

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