It costs between $209 and $249 to replace a circuit breaker switch, with most people paying an average of $229. This cost includes a single standard circuit breaker, supplies, and labor, with the work taking a licensed electrician between one and two hours.
|What you can expect|
|Range per breaker:||$212.28||$253.12|
|Range for this type of project:||$212||$253|
Circuit Breaker Cost
Cost for residential-grade, 125V, 20A AFCI/GFCI circuit breaker. UL and CSA rated for optimal safety.
Circuit Breaker Labor, Basic
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete installation on existing panel with free circuits. Power to panel will be shut off, and circuit wiring connected to panel location. New circuit breaker will be installed and powered, and optimal operation will be verified. Circuit wiring and any other modifications to service panel will incur additional costs. Fee is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of installation site, and meticulous cleanup.
Circuit Breaker Job Supplies
Requisite supplies for the job, including connectors, fittings, junction boxes, and fasteners.
|cost to install a circuit breaker|
|National Avg. Materials Cost per breaker||$10.61|
|National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 1 breaker||$228.97|
|National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 1 breaker||$208.88 - $249.06|
In older homes, the electrical system might not have a high enough rating to power the increasing number of appliances and devices typical of modern life. If the energy frequently cuts out due to overload, replacing the breaker box with a higher capacity model may be necessary.
Replacing a circuit breaker box costs an average of $1,475, with a typical range of $1,287 to $1,707. The overall cost depends on the number of circuits in the system, the total amperage, and the design of the home's electrical installation.
Lower amperage breaker boxes of 60 amps or below can cost around $500 at the bottom end, while a high-capacity 200 or 400 amp box can reach a cost of $4,000 or even higher.
The total cost of installing a single circuit breaker switch is around $229, with the price rising for each extra breaker fitted.
A new circuit breaker switch can be bought for as little as $5, with the high-end prices reaching $40. The main circuit breaker for the whole electrical system usually costs between $40 and $100.
However, as with most electrical work, labor is the most expensive part of installing a circuit breaker. It takes around one to three hours on average for a qualified electrician, with a typical hourly rate of between $40 and $99. This usually works out at between $80 and $297 for labor, depending on the complexity of the job.
The cost of replacing an electrical panel depends mainly on the amperage rating required. For a panel rated between 60 and 100 amps, the cost averages between $850 and $1,100, rising to between $1,200 and $1,600 if a new service panel is also needed.
Higher amperage ratings cost more, with an upgrade to 200 amps costing between $1,300 and $2,500. At the top end of domestic panels, a 400 amp upgrade can cost between $2,000 and $4,000.
Installing a completely new electrical panel costs more or less the same as upgrading an existing one, ranging from a low of $1,200 for a new 100 amp panel up to a high of $4,000 for a 400 amp model.
An old-style fuse box costs around the same to install as a circuit breaker, but the parts can be expensive and difficult to find. When a fuse box needs replacing, most people today choose to install a circuit breaker box instead, thanks to its greater convenience and improved safety.
Fuse boxes aren't designed to handle the larger currents typically found in a modern home, and will cut the power more often. Fuses also take time and effort to replace, compared to the simple reset switch of a circuit breaker.
Lastly, today's AFCI and GFCI breakers offer much better protection than a simple fuse, reducing the risk of fire and electrocution by a significant amount.
A sub panel is a smaller version of a breaker box with fewer circuits and switches, and a lower overall amperage. Sub panels are a good choice for protecting specific parts of a larger electrical system, such as in a basement, a garage, or a home extension.
Because of their smaller size and lower power rating, sub panels are less expensive to buy, costing between $500 and $1,000 on average for a 50 amp panel. However, the labor costs of installation will be more or less the same as for a main panel.
For a straightforward job, moving an electrical panel by a few feet will cost between $800 and $2,500. This figure is based on simply extending the connections to the new location. The cost will rise if major rewiring is needed, or if parts need replacing to bring them up to modern standards and safety codes.
There's no real difference in the cost of installing an electrical breaker box inside or outside of your home, with both costing between $800 and $4,000 depending on the amperage and the number of circuits.
Most modern boxes are installed outside the building, at the point where the electrical supply enters, for ease of access in an emergency. Many people choose to switch to an outdoor panel as part of an upgrade or rewire involving an older indoor box. The average cost for moving an indoor panel outside ranges from $1,500 to $2,500, depending on the amount of extra wiring required.
A typical electric meter box costs between $200 and $500 to replace, and this is often done at the same time as replacing an electrical panel. Modern meters offer an accurate record of a home's electricity usage, and this information can usually be used to cut back on energy bills, saving money in the long run.
There are three levels of experience and expertise of electricians. Beginners start out at the apprentice grade, with an average hourly rate of $40 to $50. Apprentice electricians must work under the direct supervision of a journeyman, and ultimately under the direction of a master electrician.
Electricians with more experience reach the journeyman stage and can work more independently, with a typical hourly rate of $50 to $70. Journeymen electricians can install wiring, outlets, and fixtures without direct supervision.
A fully qualified and licensed electrician is known as a master electrician, and can handle all residential work at a typical rate of $100 to $120. A master electrician will typically charge a call-out fee of $125, compared to $75 for an apprentice or journeyman.
A regular trip breaker can cost as a little as $5 at retail prices, but there are two more advanced types of breaker which cost between $20 and $100 each. These breakers are known as AFCI and GFCI breakers, and offer increased protection against electrical fire or electrocution. They're available as individual breakers, or dual-function models which combine both kinds of protection.
AFCI stands for arc fault circuit interrupter. This type of circuit breaker detects the heat of an electrical arc, or spark, and shuts off the power to reduce the risk of fire. Arcing can happen when there's physical damage to the electrical circuit, such as through rodent chewing or a malfunctioning appliance.
An AFCI breaker fits into the same panel slot as a regular one, and is recommended or required for use in kitchens, laundry rooms, and rooms where people may sleep.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) detects when the current is flowing the wrong way around a circuit, and trips before electrocution can happen. Mostly, a GFCI will trip because of water causing a short circuit, and these breakers should be used anywhere where water is found, such as in kitchens, bathrooms, exterior outlets, pool areas, and so on.
However, GFCI breakers shouldn't be used on circuits containing refrigerators or freezers, as these appliances can trip the breakers when the motor activates.
There are several factors which can affect the final amount you'll pay for a circuit breaker replacement, including:
Switching a circuit breaker isn't a difficult job for an experienced electrician, but as with all electrical work, safety is the number one priority. Unless you're 100% confident in your ability, DIY should be avoided for anything but the most basic electrical projects.
What's more, attempting DIY electrical work is often against local building codes, and could land you with a fine if you don't have the correct license or permit. Any problems caused by unauthorized work are unlikely to be covered by home insurance, leaving you facing financial difficulties as well as physical danger if something goes wrong.
In contrast, a licensed electrician will be fully insured and bonded, so you'll be covered financially in the unlikely event any mistakes are made.
Lastly, an electrician will have the right tools and knowledge to get the job done quickly, safely, and with less disruption. For all these reasons, it's best to hire a professional electrician rather than attempting the work yourself.
The main advantages of updating your electrical panel or breaker box are that modern designs offer greater protection against fire and electrocution than older ones. They also allow more devices to be used at once, for greater convenience.
The downside is that a replacement is a major electrical job, making it a costly and disruptive project. However, a new panel should last for between 25 and 40 years, making it an exercise you're unlikely to repeat too often.
⚡ What is the main circuit breaker in a dwelling?
⭐ When should an electrical panel be upgraded or replaced?
📝 Do you need a permit to replace a circuit breaker?
💳 Should you buy circuit breaker parts and materials yourself?