Advice on replacing main breaker panel


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Old 12-10-08, 01:59 PM
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Advice on replacing main breaker panel

I'm considering replacing the main breaker panel. A few reasons are:

1. It is old (the house is about 36 years, and I believe the panel is the original).

2. I'd feel safer with AFCI breakers.

3. I believe one of the breakers doesn't quite work. It trips repeatedly, and even when it stays on, the switch itself is flaky. It is possible that a receptable itself is broken, but given how flaky the breaker is, I think it's the breaker.

I got a quote from an electrician who says he can replace the whole thing for $300, labor only.

And now I'm wondering if I really should go ahead and do it. Is 36 years really old for a breaker? If I just replace the broken breaker, should I expect other problems with the other breakers in the not-too-distant future?

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-10-08, 02:22 PM
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i am in the process of replacing my load panel in my house, and from the sounds of it, all you would have to do is change the breaker, 15 bucks or so at your hardware stores. Most load panels are around 250 - 300 dollar range, plus all the breakers to fit in there unless it comes with, but ur probly looking at about 400 bucks in materials. but i think a breaker would do the fix.

Im replacing mine cause the hosue was built in 1912 and the panel only has 8 breakers in it haha
 
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Old 12-10-08, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by yottaflops View Post
1. It is old (the house is about 36 years, and I believe the panel is the original).
What make/model is the panel? Does the panel have any damage? What amperage service do you have? Do you need higher amperage?

I believe one of the breakers doesn't quite work. It trips repeatedly, and even when it stays on, the switch itself is flaky. It is possible that a receptable itself is broken, but given how flaky the breaker is, I think it's the breaker.
What loads are served by that breaker? Is the circuit overloaded or close to overload? If not, I would replace that breaker for sure. Also inspect the breaker bar for any damage which may have contributed to the breaker malfunction.

And now I'm wondering if I really should go ahead and do it. Is 36 years really old for a breaker?
It's not really old, but could be worth considering replacement. The stronger argument would be if you needed a larger service to support some electrical addition to your home like a spa or kitchen remodel.

If I just replace the broken breaker, should I expect other problems with the other breakers in the not-too-distant future?
Not necessarily.
 
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Old 12-10-08, 02:57 PM
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I would be highly skeptical of the $300 price to change a panel. He must not be considering doing any sort of upgrade for capacity, grounding and bonding or permits.

Even a 100 amp panel with breakers could approach that price, let alone add in any labor. Heck AFCI breakers alone are running about $35 or so apiece.

Do yourself a favor and get 3 estimates from licensed and insured professionals.
 
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Old 12-10-08, 04:39 PM
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If you have a name brand panel, you should be able to get replacement breakers, including the AFCI ones. If you have a 200 amp, name brand panel that you can still find parts for, I probably wouldn't change it (I'm assuming that the panel has not been recalled, is not a brand with a bad reputation and that the panel doesn’t have serious problems).
 
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Old 12-10-08, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by yottaflops View Post
I got a quote from an electrician who says he can replace the whole thing for $300, labor only.

Just for labour ?? what about the materals for whole thing and how big the breaker box it will be.

Just becarefull some area the local code will have specail requirement which you will have to bring it up to code.,

If your state is on 2005 or earlier code and have AFCI reqirements they will be reqired in Bedroom circuit Unless the State/ local code say something diffrent.

If ya on 2008 code almost everything will be on AFCI or GFCI depending on the rooms.
again check with local officals for latest codes.


As far for namebrand on breakers most are pretty goods the most common one I deal is SqD QO or HOM series or C-H CH series or BR series and from time to time GE breakers.

they do come in few diffrent size as well that may affect the price

A side note normally for 100 amp service I useally install 30 space panels sure., they cost a hair little more but it worth it and for 200 A service typically 40 or 42 space is far most common unless ran into specal setup like much larger service that diffrent story.,,

Merci,Marc
 
 

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