How much does it cost to install a subpanel?

We all tend to take the electricity in our homes for granted. We plug in our toasters, computers, televisions, lights and it all just works. Every room in our home has electrical outlets, which means we’re never far from electricity when we need it. In fact, for most of us, using electricity in the home is so second nature that we hardly think about it at all.

However, our homes have a way of warning us when enough is enough. If you’ve been seeing flickering or dimming lights, or you’ve noticed that your appliances are tripping your circuit breaker, you need to bring in a professional electrician to take a closer look. The issue might be your home’s subpanel.

In this article, we’ll go over just how much adding a subpanel costs and what you need to know about this type of project. If your home needs a new subpanel, you need to call the electricians here at Wagner—we’re ready to help!

Why do I need a new subpanel?

If you were to compare a home from 1985 with a home from today, you’d be shocked at some of the differences. Leaving aside the questionable home decorating decisions of the mid-80s, one of the biggest differences is the use of electricity. Today’s homeowners need more electricity than ever before to power computers, charge phones, power smart devices, and even recharge electric vehicles. While many of our appliances and lights are more energy-efficient today than they were back then, the overall picture is clear: modern homes just need more juice.

That mid-80s home wasn’t designed for this type of electrical demand. There’s a good chance that its subpanel—which might be the one you’re continuing to use to this very day—isn’t either. Subpanels that are more than 15-20 years old often are unable to keep up with the electrical needs of modern homes. It’s one of the reasons why many homeowners need new subpanel installation.

Watch: Get to know your home’s subpanel

In this video, learn more about how your home’s electrical panel works and interacts with the other electrical infrastructure both inside and outside your home.

How much will a new subpanel cost?

According to data collected by the home repair website, the average subpanel installation cost, nationwide, is $1,200. This average point is taken from a range of $534 to $1,938, with special projects running even higher than that due to factors such as location, amperage, permits, and other systems that need to be replaced at the same time.

There is one consistent factor that impacts installation cost: subpanel amperage. In brief, the subpanel’s amperage is the total electrical load it can handle. The higher the amperage, the more expensive the subpanel will be to install. On average, a 150-amp subpanel will cost between $600 and $1,750 to install.

We often advise homeowners to upgrade to a higher-amperage subpanel as a way of “future-proofing” their home. Even if your home’s electrical load is moderate today, you don’t know where things will stand in 15-20 years—just like homeowners in the mid-80s could never have predicted modern appliances or smartphones. In fact, we already know of a significant use for home electricity that will be in more and more garages as we head into the 2030s: electric vehicles. By giving your home more electrical capacity, you could very well be doing your future self a huge favor!

The best way to learn what your cost of installing a subpanel will be is to contact our electricians for an estimate. Our friendly team can learn more about your project, evaluate what your new subpanel needs, and then provide you with an upfront, individualized quote, unique to your home and your project.

What factors into my subpanel installation cost?

For the typical subpanel installation project, most of the cost consists of the cost of the subpanel and the labor involved with installing it. However, there are a number of other factors that could drive up that cost. Here’s what you need to know:

Replacing Wiring

During the subpanel installation, our electricians may find that the panel wiring needs to be replaced, or that the electrical wiring in your home needs to be replaced. Just like your subpanel, your home’s wiring was not designed to handle the amount of power needed in your modern home. If your wiring is out-of-date, it may need to be replaced with higher-capacity wiring for safety reasons. The cost of such a project will ultimately depend on factors such as the scope of the project and the square footage of your home.

Replacing the Fuse Box

If your home fuse box is just as old as your subpanel, it might also need to be replaced. A fully functional fuse box is key to the safety of your home—its breakers help prevent circuits from being overloaded and overheated. If your lights have been flickering or you have wall sockets that are no longer providing power, it could be a sign that your fuse box needs to be replaced.

Can I add my own subpanel?

No. As with all electrical projects, installing, repairing, or moving a subpanel requires the help of a licensed and experienced electrician. By hiring a pro, you’re ensuring that your new subpanel will be installed correctly, without any further issues. You’ll also be in compliance with local city and county building codes, as our electricians know which permits to file during such a project. And, finally—but most importantly—you’ll be protecting yourself and your family. DIY electrical work is dangerous, both for you and others in your home. During the installation, there’s the risk of serious electrical shock, which can lead to permanent disability or death. After install, there’s the risk of an electrical fire if the subpanel was installed incorrectly.

When you add all of this together, it’s clear that DIY electrical work is just not worth the risk. If you need a new subpanel installed, you need to bring in the professional electricians at Wagner. Contact our team today. We’re ready to help you get the job done, safely, so that you can sleep soundly at night.