If you’ve been wondering, “how much does it cost to replace a circuit breaker?” for a while now, know that the average cost is $1,475. You can get a replacement for a comparatively cheap $500 but some homeowners I know report being charged as high as $2,000 to $4,000 for their homes.
Many factors and variables come into play such as the electrician’s service fee, home type, amperage, and amount of circuits. I’ll explain the answer further below.
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Why the Wide Price Range?
Given the range I mentioned, you’ll have to accept from the outset that the cost to fix a breaker is rarely set in stone. Besides the other factors I mentioned, we also need to consider the possibility of the homeowner deciding to upgrade the circuit breaker with higher amperage.
For example, the previous one may have been a 200-amp one. Perhaps, you’re planning to add more electrical appliances and tools and think that it’s better to get a 400-amp breaker for that purpose. This move might cost you $2,000 to $4,000 already.
Of course, this goes both ways, too. You can always opt to downgrade to a cheaper breaker with lower amps. According to Home Guide, a 100-amp breaker will cost you at least $850.
These other factors also play a role in the vast price range:
- The job may require new materials (e.g. extra circuits) to complete and adhere to the building code.
- In older homes, you may have to work with obsolete panels that may lack the wiring required by the new panel board you intend to install.
- You may even have to remove obstacles (e.g. drywalls, along the way to ensure proper wiring and installation.
- You can always opt to search for cheaper materials in local stores. I’d be surprised if you don’t manage to get the pieces to fall in place (i.e. meet your budget) if you take the time to survey and buy each needed material from low-cost sources.
Take note that the figures I mentioned only take into account the main breaker replacement cost. It doesn’t include the cost of replacing individual components (like the switches), since I assumed that your query focuses solely on replacing the entire circuit breaker panel.
If not and you want to know how it will cost to replace a circuit breaker switch, then continue reading.
How Much Will It Cost if I’m Only Going to Replace the Switch?
If you only want to replace the switch of the circuit breaker, then don’t expect to pay as much as replacing a whole panel. According to HomeX, the cost to replace a circuit breaker switch is around $200 at most in 2021. This slightly contradicts the national average stated by porch.com, which pegs it at around $250.
That already hits the price ceiling in my opinion, as I can name a handful of services that offer this for less at $120 to $150. I can buy fuses for as cheap as $5 to $10, but I understand that there are switches that can also sell for three- or four-fold of those amounts.
Still, you’ll be paying mostly for the labor, and none of the required materials carry much weight price-wise.
Know the Average Electrician Rates in Your Area
When considering breaker replacement cost, you can’t overlook the service charges of the electricians available in your locale. Hourly rates also vary a lot nationwide. There are states where you can hire an electrician for as low as $40 per hour, while in others they may go for as high as $100 per hour.
With that in mind and the time it takes to properly set up a circuit breaker, allot a budget of at most $800 on labor. That’s already the maximum in most cases, but it’s better to be safe so you won’t end up falling short.
I actually highly recommend you inquire about replace circuit breaker cost to electricians in your area. Why? It will only serve to verify the information I shared here. Most electricians are all too willing to give you total cost estimates of any project, so I say let them do that for you.
All better if they have a website where you can contact them to get a direct quote, regardless of rates and based on my experience, it’s best practice to trust an electrician’s reputation and experience before anything.
Upgrading is Often Cheaper Compared to Installing New Panels
Upgrading is always viable if you’re, for instance, refurbishing an older home. I’ve crunched the numbers when doing the research on this topic. What I found out is that it’s often cost-effective to upgrade to a panel with a higher amp capability than to install a new one. However, this isn’t an absolute rule.
For example, you’ll be able to save at least $500 if you decide to upgrade from a 100-amp breaker to a 200-amp one. The saved cost, of course, stems from the fact that installing a new 200-amp breaker will amount to $1,800 to $2,500.
However, I also discovered that some companies charge the same for upgrades and replacements, especially if it’s a high-amp panel like 400-amp breakers. Expect these to cost the same, between $2,000 to $4,000.
What If You Also Need a New SubPanel?
Many homeowners decide to add a subpanel when replacing circuit breakers. It could be because they intend to expand their house and want to ensure that the electrical needs of all the areas will be met.
Should you decide to go this route, expect the installation costs to bump a bit more. I recommend you prepare an additional $1,000 for this. However, I definitely know of services in my area that charge only $500 for this.
Furthermore, I suggest you brush up on the usual requirements for installing a subpanel in your home. Your current home setup may not be able to accommodate the extra panel, after all. This video is a good place to start for this:
Is Circuit Breaker Repair a Viable Route to Take?
Many people still consider repairing their circuit breakers by themselves, thinking it may help them save money in the long run. While I’m not entirely ruling out the possibility that you’ll be able to repair a broken breaker, I won’t really recommend doing it by yourself. You’ll only be putting yourself and your loved one’s at risk.
There is no shortage of scenarios wherein homeowners who have tried this ended up getting themselves electrocuted. You may find solid guides online on how to do DIY breaker repair, but I often shun them for the very reason that I don’t want to wake up to smoke and flames one night. Just ask any well-meaning, professional electrician, and they’ll more than likely nod in agreement.
Since the costs vary a lot, don’t expect these figures to be other than rough estimates. All construction and refurbishing projects have costs that balloon and decrease as the project progresses. At best, I suggest you stick to these steps:
- Finalize your decision. Will you be replacing the main circuit breaker or only its components? Do you think you will benefit from a subpanel? Get the exact answers to these questions.
- Know the rates of electricians in your area. Compare them and the quality of their services.
- If you want to keep total costs down, be prepared to seek out more affordable materials and consider upgrading panels instead of installing a new one.
Hope you like this article on how much does it cost to replace a circuit breaker. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment box below!
I am Edwin Jones, in charge of designing content for Galvinpower. I aspire to use my experiences in marketing to create reliable and necessary information to help our readers. It has been fun to work with Andrew and apply his incredible knowledge to our content.