How Much Does 200 Amp Electric Panel Upgrade Cost
Electricity has been one of the biggest highlights of modern civilization. It is the one source of energy that makes all homes livable. Curiously, the electricity requirement for every average home is comparatively minimal. Back then, every ordinary household in the United States only required 60 amps. As more appliances became available, the overall energy requirement also increases.
Domestic devices like the HVAC unit, washing machine, security mechanisms, sophisticated computers, and home theater systems require an average capacity of 200 amps. Since many of the decades-old American houses are rigged with 100 amp main electrical panels, the upgrading of electrical systems has become one of the major home renovation projects in the country.
Suffice to say that having a short supply of electricity is not just a mere inconvenience. In fact, such deficiency is a host to many serious property damages and risks to personal security (more on the topic in the later part of the article). Considering the necessity of upgrading many of the obsolete or out-phased residential electricity systems, knowing the cost to upgrade an electrical panel to 200 amps is highly invaluable.
Basic Installation Cost
On average, the overall 200 amp panel upgrade cost is anywhere between $1,200 and $3,000. In order to comprehend how the amount fell within that price range, here is the breakdown of the overall cost according to Home Advisor:
This aspect comprises the biggest portion of the overall spending. In accordance with the guidelines of the National Electrical Contractors Association, the hourly wage of prospective professionals is somewhere between $50 and $80. Considering that it takes around 8 to 10 hours to finish the upgrade installation, homeowners are expected to pay around $500 to $800.
Apart from the time-based service fee, electrical contractors are also looking at the complexity of the job for determining the price range. In other words, they could set a higher markup to fix or install the new electrical system into a dangerous architectural layout.
In order to avoid potential fatal errors in the installing process, a full electrical inspection is an ideal precautionary measure prior to the commencement of the operation. Inspections allow electrical contractors to plan a seamless procedure that can significantly reduce the actual hours of work required – hence reducing the labor cost. Homeowners are expected to pay an average fee of around $125 to $400.
Home Advisor estimates the retail cost of 200-amp panel to be anywhere between $300 and $500. However, it is possible to acquire panels of the same exact capacity for nearly half the price. In fact, one of the most recommended models in Ebay is only sold at a price of $170.5.
When it comes to these types of key power components, homeowners should never settle for anything less than reliable. It is, therefore, very important to be able to guarantee excellent quality and reliability if one should consider the economical item.
Apart from a new 200-amp panel, experts also suggest buying a whole-house surge protection. Despite the excellent condition of an electrical panel, the wirings and connected home appliances are prone to irreparable damage during lightning strikes and fluctuations. This upgrade could cost anywhere between $150 and $500.
5 Reasons to Upgrade Electrical Panel
Apart from knowing the basic cost to upgrade an electrical panel to 200 amps, it is crucial for every homeowner to not only to know when the investment is required but also why exactly it is needed in the first place. Here are the following justifications mentioned by the Remodeling Calculator:
Eliminate fire hazards
According to the data presented by the United States Fire Administration, 6.4% of the residential fires that occurred in 2015 are caused by electrical malfunction. Around 1,800 citizens have died and 7,500 more were seriously injured simply because the electrical panel was incapable of handling the required energy usage.
Warning signs are apparent when the electrical panel is rife with buzzing, crackling, and sudden sparks that often lead to completely frying the fuses. When these signs occur, it is about time to have the electrical panel upgraded.
Increase power capacity
As mentioned in the introductory part of the article, certain home improvements require an increased power capacity. In fact, the HVAC system consumes 47% of the electricity use, costing an average of $662 per year. This utility bill does not yet include the other 9 household appliances. Apparently, 120 amps are not enough to contain this energy demand. Investing for the cost of 200-amp panel upgrade is necessary to avoid the previously mentioned reason (fire hazard).
Amplify retail value
Other than the safety issue, another reason to invest on the 200 amp panel upgrade cost is to increase the retail value of the property. Technology is one of the key factors that affect the buyers to acquire a certain real estate. In other words, anyone would want to buy a house that is capable of juicing up a number of advanced home appliances and machines.
Ending service lifespan
The average lifespan of an electrical panel is roughly within 24 to 40 years. If the house has existed since the past two generations, it is about time to upgrade the electrical panel to its higher amperage. Regardless of its ‘tolerable’ working condition, it is only a matter of (a very short) time before machines like an electrical panel would reach its breaking point. It is often best not to experience its unpleasant consequence firsthand.
Obsolete or damaged panel
Lastly, another compelling reason to have the electrical panels upgraded has a lot to do with its brand and material integrity. Archaic models manufactured by Zinsco and FPE have left a bad impression among many electrical contractors in the country. Split bus panels are also notorious for their complicated setup that electrical contractors also single this out for replacement.
If not for the existence of subpar models, the material damage like corrosion and water contamination is a safety issue that should not be overlooked. Upgrading damaged electrical panels is a concrete example of eliminating potential fire hazards.