fuse to breaker conversion


Old 09-07-01, 04:48 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: North East - New England
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Anyone have any idea about how much a conversion from fuses to breakers on the main panel could run? If it matters at all, its in Massachusetts. A standard cape style house, 3 br's 2 bath, kitchen, living, diningroom. Not too elaborate of a home.
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Old 09-07-01, 02:59 PM
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This is a wide open question. Way too many variables to give an estimate accurate enough to do you any good. If your panel is remote and 200 amp it could run from 1000 dollars and up.

If you panel is a 100 amp panel and is back to back the cost factor would be of little diference from a 200 amp panel back to back and could range from 700 and up.

A lot depends on what you have and how the service is designed.

Sorry I can't be more accurate. Just way too many things could change the estimate range on this question.

If you plan to do it yourself then make a detailed material list after you have confirmed any local specialty rules and any requirements of the serving Utility company. Your labor is free if you do it yourself. Price out your material at a couple of supply houses. You then should have a reasonably close idea of cost.

If you plan to hire an electrician then estimates from electrical contractors are usually free. I would seek out three estimates making sure they are bidding the same wiring design and size. Then you should have a fair idea that you are getting an honest price.

Good Luck

Old 09-13-01, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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I have a friend who paid $900 for a 100 amp service in upstate NY. At the same time I did mine myself for just under $700 in materials for a 150 amp service. I had an unusual circumstance that caused me to have to install a separate $200 service disconnect switch upstream from my new breaker panel, or I would have only spent about $500 otherwise. My friend's contractor obtained a permit and inspection and included the fees for this in his price. Generally an upgrade of panel requires a new weatherhead and service entrance cable, the wire that goes from where the utility aerial wires attach to your house, down to a new meter. You own this wire and it is probably undersized for a 100 amp new panel, since many if not most fused services in modest dwellings were 60 amp panels. So the cost to replace the service conductors is on your nickel. The utility supplies the meter but the socket it's plugged into is provided in the contractor's price. You also own this. Then a new cable from the new meter into your house to the new breaker panel. Also at least one new ground rod (NEC requires one, some utilities require two, but they're cheap either way. Fused services didn't usually include a rod, but a plumbing connection to ground only, but the NEC now requires them. You'll get a new ground wire from the panel inside to the rod outside, with a second ground connection to the plumbing as well. The electrician will then swap all your existing circuits as-is from the fuses to the new breakers. Unless you ask the electrician to upgrade your individual branch circuits his/her work will end at the new panel. And this is the only portion of your electrical system the inspector will inspect, unless s/he sees something imminently dangerous about your existing wiring. The contractor also arranges with the utility for a shut off and turn on of your power for the changeover.

Also for comparison I designed a job recently in which service to private homes was upgraded from fused to 100 amp breaker panel. I received bids from three local contractors to do exactly what I described above. The bids were $785, $1,570 and $2,150. So you can see, it is highly recommended to call three contractors for FREE estimates.

Most folks in here recommend exceeding 100 amps, which is the minimum allowed by the national electrical code (NEC). 150 amps is a good number and the price does not jump dramatically. However, you simply can't go wrong installing a 200 amp service unless you had an absolute mansion packed with tons of electrical goodies. Overkill is good, and impresses prospective buyers when the day comes to sell your house. In very general terms, if you do not have more than two of the following a 100 amp service is usually adequate: Electric heat, electric dryer, electric hot water, electric range and central AC. But again, I would never go with the minimum requirement of 100 amps and would personally recommend 150 amps minimum.

Hope this info helps.


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