What is a breaker panel?
The cost ultimately depends on how much work we'll be doing. Are we rebuilding the electrical service in the same location or is it moving to a new spot? We use different materials for an overhead electrical service replacement than we would an underground application, where is the power coming in from? Are we only replacing the service on the outside of the home or does the subpanel need to be refed as well? There are so many different variables to this question that the best way to get started is to begin the quote process.
Example of the outside breaker panel and meter from about 15-20 feet back
Example of the overhead power lines running back to the power provider's pole
Breaker Panel Replacement
What happens during a panel replacement?
Anytime a main breaker panel is replaced, we are required to bring the main service up to modern code. This means that if the power provider's wiring coming into the home is too low then we'll need to raise it. If the meter can isn’t the proper size, it will need to be replaced and the meter almost always needs to be replaced. If you don’t have a proper ground system, it will also have to be installed. The work typically takes a full day and as long as the home is occupied (someone is living there) the power will be turned back on the same day.
Why should I replace my panel?
Some people refer to the breaker panel as a fuse box, a term for a box or panel that's not really in use in residential settings anymore. It’s common for each home to have two breaker panels, one where the electricity comes to the house from the electric company (main breaker panel), usually near the electrical meter outside and one usually in the garage or utility room that controls the electricity in the house (subpanel). Circuit breakers control different parts of your home, your kitchen may be on one circuit breaker while the master bedroom is on another. These circuit breakers are designed to trip when there is an electrical short or over-current to protect the wiring.
There are a few reasons why we would suggest replacing a breaker panel but first let us tell you why you shouldn't replace a panel. If you are having trouble with a breaker that keeps tripping and an electrician tells you that you have to replace the breaker panel in order to fix the issue I hope a red flag goes up. Replacing the breaker panel to fix a tripping breaker is like buying a new car to fix a flat tire. Sure, it'll probably work but most of the time it's faster and cheaper to repair the issue.
It's a brand that went out of business for a reason.
There are two breaker panel brands that we recommend replacing if you have either of them. They are Federal Pacific and Zinsco/Sylvania. Their breakers tend to not trip when they’re supposed to, putting your home’s wiring in danger. It’s a good idea to change these panels out.
There's not enough room to add any extra power.
This is a bigger issue for older homes but if you've got a home with an old 100 amp breaker panel installed then the chances of having enough power to install a pool and a hot tub are pretty slim. If there's not enough ampacity of enough room physically to add another breaker then replacing the breaker panel may be the next logical step.
How much is a panel replacement?
1. We'll talk about your options and put together a formal quote for you.
2. If you have any questions now is the best time to ask.
3. When you're ready, accept your quote.
4. We'll begin the permitting process which can take about a week. Once the permit is active we'll be able to schedule the work with Austin Energy or PEC. If you're with Oncor, then you'll be able to schedule the work with them at this time.
5. On the day that the work is to take place the power will be turned off, we'll begin our work, meet with inspectors and get the power turned back on.
6. If we were able to get the final inspection on the same day as the work, everything is done. If not, we'll schedule a time for an inspector to stop by and take another look.
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