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Question DetailsAsked on 1/22/2018

What is a rough estimate of what it would cost to move a circuit breaker box two feet to a different wall?

I am planning on finishing my basement and I want to remove a wall in my basement which holds a circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is not the main circuit breaker. This one holds the electrical to my pole building outside and to outlets on the wall I want to remove. I want to move the breaker to the nearest wall, which is only 2 ft away. I was wondering what the cost of this might be to move this breaker box? If I move it and remove the wall it is currently on, it would only be holding the electrical to my barn.

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Since you are evidently removing the wall outlet circuit entirely, leaving only the incoming feed and the outgoing single circuit to the pole barn, it comes down to where the wires come in/out of the subpanel.

If they both come from the adjacent wall where you want to put the panel, so there is currently a couple of feet of each wire in the to-be-removed wall leading to the panel, that is the ideal situation because then you should have adequate wire length for the move to the new location - you will be cutting the wires back to fit rather than having to add more wire to reach to the new location. In that case, relocating the subpanel and cutting the lead wires back as appropriate might run $150-300 range typically - not including any drywall patching or painting to patch any required openings for running the wire. Though if this is a wall intersecting with the wall you want to put the panel in, might just be able to put it at the old intersection point where you will be doing remedial drywall anyway to cover up where the intersecting wall is currently connecting.

If one or both of the wires comes from the other direction in the wall to be removed, or down from above and from another direction, then you may have to pull that wire back to the other end of the wall removal zone, and go into an adjacent wall or overhead to the ceiling. In that case, it is likely that no matter where you put the box on the adjacent wall (and no, a breaker box cannot go in the ceiling), at lead one feed will come up short - so a junction box will have to be put in to splice in an additional length of wire to get to the new box location. Any such junction box HAS to be visible and readily accessible, though it can have a decorative cover plate over it as long as it is clear it is a junction box. In that case, depending on how much additional wire you have to pull (and that may be influenced as much by minimizing drywall damage as by the most direct run length), can commonly run more into the $300-500 range for the electrician for the entire job. So, checking out where the wires are coming from and being flexible with respect to where the panel can go can sometimes save a fair amount of money and drywall repair.

In that sort of case, it always pays to look at where the wires are ultimately feeding to and from - sometimes relocating the panel somewhere totally different (like maybe close to the main panel) may pay off. And remember this panel evidently will now only serve the outbuilding as a main feed to it. So it may be you can eliminate this panel entirely and come directly off the breaker feeding it if it is fed from the main breaker panel, with no subpanel at all. [Note that breaker may now be oversized for the job, because you are eliminating the wall circuit, so the breaker may need to be downsized to be proper size for the demand.]

Or if this subpanel comes directly off the service (or at a main breaker box near the meter) then it may be more advantageous to come straight off there now (putting in a main breaker there on that circuit if it does not now have the one it should have) to the outbuilding - all depends on physical layout and run lengths.

And of course - be sure this is not a required firewall you are taking out, and that proper support is provided if it is load bearing. Note even if not load-bearing, taking it out may result in objectionable appearing (even if structurally OK) overhead floor joist sag, especially if the wall runs crosswise to the floor joists.

Most floor joists develop 1/2-2 inches of mid-span sag over their lifetime, and with long beams/joists can be up to double that at times without being considered a structural hazard - so even spans not technically requiring mid-span support commonly do need it for appearance reasons only if over a finished space or one where headroom is low. This is particularly common in older homes which commonly had full-span joists spanning across the foundation walls, with 2x6 joists, and with many wood "truss joists" and "engineered joists" which are less than 8-10 inches deep.

Electrical is of course the Search the List category for members to find well-rated and reviewed electrician to do this work.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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