Every house has circuit breakers. We all have long become accustomed to these small devices and consider them an integral part of our daily life. It may seem that they are all designed the same and extremely easy to install. However, this is not the case at all.
When it comes to electricity, the main aspect to consider is safety. Even low voltages can be lethal in the worst-case scenario. This is why only qualified people (electricians) can carry out work on live components. After talking to your electrician, you can also carry out some operations yourself. In principle, electrical installations must be performed by an electrician.
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Circuit Breaker Installed?
The cost for installing a circuit breaker starts at around $140 for a 15 amp to 30-amp breaker and goes up to $300 for a breaker up to 200 amp or for an older circuit breaker with limited availability. However, the average cost of installing a circuit breaker will be around $200. In case you have an electrical license, you can do this job yourself and spend less than $40.
Factors affecting the cost of the circuit breaker installation
- The complexity of the job – the prices will get higher if the electrical panel is hard to access
- The labor rates in your area – the cost of most breakers is less than $30, so labor is the major expense. The cost of living is higher in major metro areas and on the Coasts. The cost of the labor is around $155 per hour or even more. On the other hand, in small towns in the South and Midwest and in rural areas, the labor rates are less than $95 per hour.
- Availability of the part – the cost is low if the part is common and is still manufactured. The cost can double or even triple if the part is older and hard to get.
- Who performs the work – electricians begin as Apprentices then they become Journeymen and end as Master Electricians. Obviously, the labor cost increases with each level.
- The number of replaced breakers – in general, most of the electricians have a minimum service fee of around $80. If you have more breakers to replace, the cost per breaker will get lower.
- GFCI/AFCI – ground fault circuit interrupter and arc fault circuit interrupter breakers are two to three times more expensive than the standard 15-to-20-amp breakers. These types of breakers are used in bathrooms and kitchens where the shock from water interacting with electricity is possible.
- Specifics of the circuit breaker – the majority of the breakers are 1-pole/120V units from 15 to 50 amps and these are the cheapest. The costs are two to five times higher for 2-pole/240V 100 amp to 225-amp breakers.
The cost of the installation labor
We already talked about the labor rates in various areas in the United States. You should be prepared to pay anywhere between $80 and $220 per hour for an electrician.
The cost of the installation supplies and breakers
Below you will find the average costs of the most popular circuit breakers and the necessary installation supplies. You should know that most of the breakers are 15, 20, or 30 amp.
- 2-pole, standard 50 amp to 200-amp circuit breakers – $30 to $160
- 1-pole, standard 15 amp to 30-amp circuit breakers – $8 to $35
- 2-pole, standard 15 amp to 30-amp circuit breakers – $13 to $50
- 1-pole, standard 50 amp to 100-amp circuit breakers – $12 to $45
- AFCI/GFCI circuit breakers – $45 to $70
The cost of permits and inspection
You will not need a permit for replacing a circuit breaker in most areas in the United States. A permit is required only if you replace the entire electrical panel, replace the fuses with the circuit breaker or install the wiring.
Circuit Breaker Installation in Electrical Panel – Short presentation
The circuit breaker is an electrical device intended for closing/opening the electric light in a room by simply pressing a button, touching it, or turning it. If you want an interior based on functionality and comfort, pay more attention to this choice. The switches are available in a wide range of models, colors, and shapes so that they fit the desired atmosphere and mood.
To connect a circuit breaker to the electrical circuit, the first mandatory step is to disconnect the respective circuit from the electrical network to prevent accidental electrocution. The connection is made to the phase conductor, not to the neutral one so that the respective lighting fixture is no longer under voltage when the device is open.
For each type of circuit breaker (single, double, ladder head, cross), the connection diagrams present on the circuit breaker must be respected.
Make sure that the installation or replacement of circuit breakers is carried out by qualified personnel and in compliance with safety regulations. Any intervention by an inexperienced person can cause significant damage, serious injury, or even death. The high voltage that can be present in the cables can cause electric shocks.
Important things to consider
A circuit breaker can be replaced pretty fast. It would take 45 minutes to one hour to remove the panel cover, replace one breaker and replace the cover.
The time needed to replace each extra circuit breaker is 20 to 40 minutes.
Hire a Pro or DIY?
Installing and wiring the circuit breaker is one of the easiest electrical jobs. Special knowledge and skills are practically not required here, but you should not be irresponsible for this job either. Electricity does not forgive even the smallest mistakes.
Therefore, those who do not have experience in carrying out such work should seek the help of specialists or experienced electricians.