How to Replace an Electrical Breaker Panel

  • 5-10 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,500-5,000
What You'll Need
Replacement Electrical Panel

Safety/Legal Warning: This project should only be undertaken by a certified professional. It's dangerous, and in many places illegal, to attempt without extensive electrical training.

If you are remodeling your house or extending it, then this may call for an upgraded electrical breaker panel. This might be because more space is needed inside the breaker panel, or it could be because you now need the ability to isolate more individual areas of your home.

As long as you spend time preparing and get everything ready in advance, then this should be a simple project to complete, and one that shouldn't take you very long to complete.

Step 1 - Safety

Your home's electrical breaker panel is its power control center and where the power enters your house, meaning that it's important you shut off all of the power to your home before beginning any work.

Find your home's master shut off switch, or contact your utility company if you can't find it. Once the power is shut off, then you can remove the cover of the electrical panel and start to take a look inside. Bear in mind that some of this may still be live, so you must be very careful.

Step 2 - Labeling Wires

There will be lots of wires that enter and leave the breaker panel. Label and mark what each of these wires is for so that you will be able to easily rewire everything up once you've installed the new panel. Every breaker connection will have three wires - a neutral wire that is white, a ground wire that is green, and the live wire that is black.

Step 3 - Removing Breakers

Remove all of the individual breakers from the panel. These will be clipped into the bus bar and simply need to be removed. Once all of the breakers have been removed, you should then detach the ground line, which will be fixed to the ground bar. After this, disconnect the neutral bar.

Step 4 - Removing Main Breaker

Now the main breaker needs to be removed. Because this part will likely still be live, justmake sure that this is kept out of the way and that it doesn't touch anyone in the removal process.

Warning: Unless you have contacted your utility company, then the main breaker switch will be live and needs to be treated with extreme caution.

Step 5 - Preparing new Electrical Panel

working on electric panel

Start to prepare the new electrical panel by punching out the required break outs and threading the wires through the holes. Connect the neutral bar to the neutral wire and the ground wire to the ground bar. There should also be a connection between the ground and neutral bar.

Step 6 - Reinstalling Breakers

Once the panel is fixed to the wall, you can then fix the lines into the individual breakers and fix them into the breaker panels. Try to keep the electrical panel organized so that circuits which are close together are kept close together in the breaker panel.