Upgrading From a Fuse Panel to Breaker Panel

A fuse box or circuit breaker panel can be found on your home either inside or outside of the structure. These electrical panels serve as safety devices to protect the electrical system from circuit overloads, as well as a switching device for turning off power to a single circuit or the entire home.

Many older homes have fuse boxes and are good candidates for electrical panel upgrades toservice_upgradeprovide more capacity, as well as making the system safer.   Circuit breaker panels are rated by amperage (amps) for measuring their electrical capacity and older ones are rated at about 60 amps, while newer panels have 200 or more amps. Using an old system today can result in circuit overload and inadequate power to run multiple modern electrical devices causing lights to dim as other electrical devices come on and/or excessive popping of fuses in older systems or tripping of breakers in newer ones.

If your home needs a circuit breaker panel upgrade, there are many things to consider before beginning the project. First of all, you should work with your local utility company and/or a licensed electrician such as Ampacity Electric to determine your particular power load requirements.  Their knowledge and expertise will prove invaluable in replacing a circuit breaker panel in New Jersey because replacing just the panel itself does not necessarily add electrical capacity to your house, since you may also have to replace circuitry or wiring on the inside of your home, which can be an overwhelming project for the average do-it-yourselfer.

You may also have to upgrade old wiring that comes from the utility pole to your house and will need to determine whether you or the power company will bear the costs of such upgrade. Also, modern building codes require that most “wet” locations, such as bathrooms, kitchens and some outdoor electrical outlets use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), so you may want to also install GFCI breakers.

An electrical circuit breaker panel upgrade will usually mean that you have to replace the entire breaker box, as well as all breakers.   Reusing the breakers is sometimes possible, depending on the circumstances, and the power company or a qualified electrician can help you determine if you can reuse any of the old equipment.

A licensed electrician should be able to complete a panel upgrade in a few hours or a few days, depending on the circumstances, and the costs to do so will generally run from $1500 to $2500, unless unforeseen problems arise that could increase costs.

Mistakes made in electrical systems can lead to personal injury or death due to electrocution or house fires. Some municipalities require that a licensed electrician do this type of work and many homeowners’ insurance companies will not cover damages resulting from electrical work performed by anyone other than a qualified, licensed electrician.

The professionals at Ampacity are always available for consultation regarding any electrical work you may need, including upgrading circuit panels, and look forward to being of service to you.

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