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Cost to replace electrical panel?

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posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:20 PM
I'll preface with the TL;DR. Have crappy electrical box most likely installed when the house was built in the late 60's. Want to replace. Want to know cost.

A certain member did something stupid and had to have an electrician come out today. I'm not admitting to anything. I will say this, someone ran wires in a weird place in my house, and if you're going to mess with stuff do it during normal business hours because they get you for after hours calls. I would have just gone and stayed with a friend or family, but I was sketched out when I flipped the breaker and heard freaking sizzling. Turned it all off immediately, but I don't know a thing about electricity and prefer my home standing.

So dude came out, fixed my problem (helped me out with another thing too, good guy), we went to look at the electrical panel and turn everything back on. He informed me that the box I have (Zinsco) is a piece of crap, and that I might want to consider getting it replaced, was adamant that I Google it first. I Googled it. Sounds like it should be replaced. The thing was probably installed in the 60's when the house was built and is also apparently a well known crap box. I'm pretty paranoid about fires for personal reasons.

Do they just replace the box? Something about having to ground it differently was mentioned. Of course I will get 3 estimates. I'm just hoping for a ballpark. I'm in Snohomish County WA. I Googled the cost for replacing and it seems to run from $800-$3,000. What would make it more expensive? It's a 3 bed, 1 bath home and I don't think it requires a huge Amp load. Guy told me he thought it would be around $2,000. That's not a problem if it's necessary, but I'd like to make sure I'm not paying too much.

posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:25 PM
1000 to 2000 is a pretty standard price.
You should be thankful you don't have an FPE panel. Those don't trip right and have caught on fire in the past. If you want to solidify a cost though, make sure to have them go off a quote and not time and material.

posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:29 PM
If you know someone who can guide you in the right direction on a box, what I usually will do (yes, usually....we've done this a few times on rentals over the years) is buy the box, then pay the electrician to install it. Saves me an extra 50% markup on the supply cost.

Even then, and even with our local labor being quite a bit cheaper, it will be in the $500 range. I'd expect you can half that again as a starting point.

If your box is from the 60's, the wiring likely is, too. Honestly, you will probably have to replace the wiring. That's going to be quite a bit more expensive (maybe 5k, to start?).

If you have homeowners insurance, you can likely get a better rate once the house is rewired. Not that itll take the sting out of the initial investment. But it does begin to add up and may help in the long run.

You're a good fella. It doesn't make me happy at all to tell you this. But I do hope its as pain free, and low cost as possible so you and your family are safe.

posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:31 PM
a reply to: PaidShill

Good call. I will. I'd rather pay for a quote than write a blank check.

posted on Mar, 30 2016 @ 11:51 PM
a reply to: Domo1

Im pretty sure a panel change out is 1,000 labor around here. A friend that is an electrition is good if you got one, you can prob get it done for half that and a six pack

ETA you should be able to get a quote for free. But that depends on your location.
edit on 3/30/2016 by Alien Abduct because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 02:11 AM
I had to change out my 110 box (old like yours) to a 220 box about 6 years ago. Box and all new breakers ran us about $1,500 installed. I am sure the price has gone up a bit since then, but it can give you a "round about".

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 02:58 AM
Here in blighty you can get a new fuseboard for less than 50 quid and if you know what you are doing and can persuade the local council you're competent you can swap it out yourself.

But i know the US have different ways of doing things but i'd certainly ring up a few people and get some rough prices, the real kicker comes if you have what we term as borrowed neutrals as it made lighting circuits cheaper as chasing down such things can be a very time consuming business (aka more cost) if you'll start having RCD protected circuits. But thats easy testable with the right tools.

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 03:26 AM
The typical cost to replace a 200 amp, over head service entrance is 18 to 24 hundred dollars. Be sure to request copper bus bars in the panel for longer life.

It sounds like a lot of money, but electrical work is not a hobby. Buying the "box" is the inexpensive part and requires a knowledge of the product. The cheap price is what kept FPE and Zinco in business. If you save that 50% it's probably not just mark up but the right product for the application. GE and Homeline with aluminium bus will probably be the "Zinco" of the future, as aluminium has only 59% of the conductivity of copper.

If in doubt about your electrical contractor, call or go by the electrical inspectors office for a quick chat. And for the sake of safety, buy the permit and get it inspected.

In the event of the friend electrician, how many of you are willing to go to work tomorrow for half pay and a six pack. These guys are hardworking professionals in a dangerous feild, and again this is not a hobby.

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 03:43 AM
ATS, I love you.

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 05:46 AM
a reply to: Domo1

You seem to indicate that someone screwed up the wiring somewhere else in the house but the electrician (?) wanted to replace the box? Makes no sense whether a single outlet box or an entire panel. No good reason to do that if it remains as original. In short, if the CAUSED problem was remedied, then go back to living as before this scare.

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 09:06 AM
a reply to: Aliensun

Yeahhh, he is trying to perform preventative maintenence, something most people do not do, especially with their cars. Would you rather have something fixed that isn't up to par, or wait for it to break, leave you stranded, or without ANY electricity requiring emergency repairs which costs way yayyyyyyy more because it has to be fixed asap. Plus the chance of burning the whole house down.
Didn't mean to offend you or anything, I just can't stand people that say it's not broke but it's about to break, so I'll worry about it when it breaks. I deal with that on a daily basis being a mechanic.

It is far worse and time consuming to fix something broken then it is to fix something that is about to break.
edit on 31-3-2016 by neomaximus10 because: Typo

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 09:49 AM

originally posted by: Maxatoria
Here in blighty you can get a new fuseboard for less than 50 quid

I mean, we speak the same language and all....

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 10:40 AM
a reply to: bigfatfurrytexan

Ok here in the land where Yorkshire is known as gods own county under her Majesties beneficent gaze a unit to control the provision of electrical power to various units can be purchased for less than 50 of our pounds which would be less than a hundred US dollars, but given that we have a lot of use of the ring mains system (due to lack of wiring after WW2) and the voltage difference such systems are not suitable for use across the pond.

or in American - Pew pewpew....pew..pew...pew...pewpewpew...brrrrrrrtttttt (when the A10 appears)

posted on Mar, 31 2016 @ 05:06 PM
Oh goodie! I just went out to see what type of box I have.... Its a Zinsco 200 amp.... LOL! vWell Ive lived here 30 years so far and it hasnt screwed up yet. I did replace a breaker before. I thought I remembered seeing copper buss bars inside

posted on Apr, 1 2016 @ 07:31 AM
I am an electrician and have a company with my father whom is in the business for 60 years plus. We do more commercial, industrial, and institutional work, but have done more residential than some house electricians for just being around so long.

If you didn't have a real issue with the panel as of yet, don't feel the need to upgrade immediately. If whatever wiring upgrade was solved, formulate what you want and ask. If you want some more receptacles/outlets, or to have some circuits split factor that in.

$10 an amp is a respectable rule of thumb for a panel swap. If you change the size of the service make sure they change the service entrance cable to the correct size. That is the wire that comes into your house and sits above your service panel and goes outside. I see some people crap a new panel in by some fly by night guy (trunkslammer) and never get the cable upgraded. Without the proper SE cable you aren't going get the amps listed on the box.

There is a licensed electrician by me whom uses different heroin addicts to place panels in cheaper than everyone else. So having a person reaking of cigarettes and felonies in your house so you can save $500 over me. He pays them their $30 fix so, everyone is happy I guess.

Another electrician in my state was so infamous for being a residential whore that he was brought before the state electrical examiners board. They had his people cutting wires in basements on undercover TV sting. On the disciplinary notes for my state electrical board he charged $8000 for a 200-amp service. His favorite tactic was your house will burn down tonight unless you get this panel done now.

It is true that a panel only uses a fraction of the amps it could. One cannot turn on and use everything at once. AC units take a big drawl on start up, so if you are going update your heating and air you may want to factor that into a panel.

Some states have strange amendments to whatever edition of the National Electric Code. In my state if you just replaced but didn't extend (add a brand new never before existing circuit) you didn't need to throw an Arc Fault Breaker ($35 a piece). So check what you need to do. Arc faults do a lot of nuisance tripping on non brand new houses built with them from the start.

Yes, if you think electricians are so expensive, wait till you see the cost of a bad one.

Make sure your new panel gets labeled correctly. Print or label write it.

posted on Apr, 1 2016 @ 10:05 PM

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