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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2016

how much to replace fuse boxes to breaker boxes

I have a 4 bedroom house and the 100 amp fuse box I may need to add amps

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1 Answer


You can find a number of prior questions about the cost of upgrading or replacing a panel (does not much matter if currently fuses or breakers) in the Home > Electrical link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Generally a thousand to two to replace the panel, from some additional hundreds to couple of thousand to upgrade the service if your incoming service is undersized, and of course if you have a very long service line running to your house (like in very rural country) can get into the many thousands if the utility company will not upgrade it for free or a discounted price because they are counting on recoupiong the cost in future electric usage charges.

Where it DOES make a big difference - several to around five thousands typically - is if your wiring is unsuitable or should be replaced too - and if you have fuses, the answer is most likley that the wiring is the weakest link in your current home's electrical system. Most fuse boxes are just fine and are not inherently dangerous - though need to be upgraded or a secondary box installed to bump up capacity in most cases.

I have recommended to people in the past to, in cases where $ are short for a total replacement, initially pulling new circuit wiring for the major loads (all the 202/240V ones, outdoor outlets, and bathrooms typically) to a brand new breaker panel with applicable GFCI/AFCI breakers to reduce the load on the old panel and get the high-amperage loads into new wiring to reduce overheating risks - and making the new panel large enough capacity to carry a good portion of the house. Then, when $ allow, upgrade the rest of the circuits to a new panel replacing the fuse panel, or bringing them all to that new panel.

Commonly, because of the lack of slack in the wires, a new panel should go exactly where the old one is (within a few inches) unless new wiring is being pulled for the circuits.

Note this split-panel wiring is illegal in some areas, so then you have to do it all at once. In others you just have to put in a master breaker to protect the two panels against total overloading of the household feed.

Also, in some areas, if you are replacing more than about half the existing system you then have to go ahead and replace it all. Ditto if replacing wiring - in some areas, if you replace the wiring you cannot bring it into a fuse panel - have to upgrade to breakers. Generally speaking, the other way is legal as long as the wiring is in decent condition - you can upgrade the panel without upgrading all the wiring at the same time, in most areas. However, if paper or asbestos sheet insulated wiring or bare knob-and-tube wiring, generally it cannot be connected into a new panel and has to be replaced.

So, you need a couple of Electrical contractors that you select from Search the List to come out and first tell you what you can legally do, and give you ballpark estimates - then when you have several opinions, go back to them with a definitive scope of work on exactly what is and is not going to be done and get firm bids on that scope.

Be sure to stipulate in the contract that all new work is to conform to current codes, and that the work has to pass building permit electrical inspection for your locality.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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