Is $100 to much to pay to have a 60amp breaker changed to a 40amp

needinfo001July 30, 2014

I had a 60 amp breaker for my electric stove.
I got a new one and it required a 40 amp. The electrician came and changed it out and it cost a flat $100.

Was that too much?

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let me ask you this.... do you have any more to replace because I will be right over!! ;)

without knowing the manufacturer of the breaker, it is possible that the breaker itself could cost half that, and, with a minimum trip charge, $100 could seem reasonable.

All he had to do was open the panel door, pop out the breaker and unscrew one lug, re-screw on the new breaker and then reinsert the new breaker in the bus.

Took me longer to write this than it would have to swap the breaker!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:26PM
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For an operating business, the charge of $100.00 was quite reasonable. Any less would be operating at a loss.

Let me rephrase that: Charging less would not create enough revenue to sustain the business.
Lots of expenses that are not evident to the public.

Quote from IRS: "Self-employment tax is a tax consisting of Social Security and Medicare taxes primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners." " For self-employment income earned in 2013 and 2014, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. The rate consists of two parts: 12.4% for social security (old-age, survivors, and disability insurance) and 2.9% for Medicare (hospital insurance)."

For big contractors, the extra layers of management must be supported, adding to the overhead.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:00PM
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I agree with Bus, my minimum is $95 plus parts. Just because a service call might only take 5 or 10 minutes you still lost a good hour of your day plus overhead like vehicle expenses, liability insurance, inventory etc. If you were in a fringe area my minimum would be $149 plus parts, and if you were in the next town my minimum would be half day.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:39PM
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People need to get out of their mind how long something like this takes. There are SO many factors in figuring rates and charges for a LEGITIMATE BUSINESS.

Ever bring your car to a dealer?? Their rates are typically in the $95/hr with a one hour minimum. So WHY would anyone question a professional tradesman MAKING A HOUSE CALL for the same amount??

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:06PM
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Was it a reasonable charge for a professional to do it? Yes.

Could you have done it yourself for less than $20? Yes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:40PM
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This reminds me of the old joke whose punchline is an itemized bill reading "Turning the bolt - $5. Knowing which bolt to turn - $95."

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Exactly. You are paying for knowledge and skill. I can't imagine any visit from an electrician that would cost less than $100.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:38AM
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I think it was a reasonable charge. I also think it was reasonable for me to learn which end of a screwdriver to use so that I could do odd jobs like this myself.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:27PM
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Electricity isn't the best place to start when figuring out which end of the screw driver to hold. ;-)

$100 sounds completely reasonable for a licensed professional.

Around here I think the dealerships are up to $125 per hour for labor. Fortunately my neighbor is a mechanic. He's at about half that rate and passes whatever discount he gets on parts to the customer. A while back I had him do my brakes. Pads and rotors ran about $170 for 4 wheels and he charged (or tried to charge) $40 in labor.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:25AM
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Is this a trick question - if you had a 60 amp circuit already in place why the hell did you pay anything to replace it with a lesser capacity breaker?

The breaker is set to the circuit max based on wiring load, not end use load, correct?

That is to say, if the wiring and plug is rated for 60 amps, then a 40 amp appliance should work just fine as-is.

Did he also replace the breakers for the lights with 0.2 amp breakers while there?

I'm obviously missing something or don't understand stove wiring requirements.....

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, you aren't understanding. The breaker protects the appliances on the circuit, not the wiring. If the range had a short where the oven element never cycled off and overheated, a 30 amp breaker would eventually shut it off. If there was a 60 amp breaker in place, the range would burn the house down because the breaker would never trip. I had this happen with a dryer that was (inexplicably) on a 40 amp breaker that should have been on a 30. Luckily I was home and smelled the burning seals and flipped the breaker manually. 25 years, and I had never even noticed that it was on a 40 amp breaker until there was a problem. Probably many homes out there with the wrong size protection in place. Good thing the OP noticed the issue and corrected it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:26AM
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"The breaker protects the appliances on the circuit, not the wiring."
Not exactly. Depends on the circuit and the equipment which it supplies.
In some cases, the overcurrent protection value is selected for the equipment, while the conductor size is also selected for the equipment. The rules for motors could result in a #12 being protected at 40 amperes in certain cases Examples are motors and air conditioning/refrigerating equipment.
The protection is based on conductor size alone in the case of general purpose branch circuits in residences and many other applications.
The NEC has many nuances and special cases that must be considered.
In the case of the range, if the manufacturer of the range specifies a maximum of 40 amperes for the supply overcurrent protection, then the installation of the 40 amp breaker is correctly indicated-- and needed.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:15AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt see anyone else mention this ...

but you paid $100 ... for piece of mind ...

and its usually worth it ...


    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 10:24AM
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So for air conditioners/ranges and large motors (single item circuits?) the circuit should be based on load of the end use, but general circuits (which is obviously what I'm more familiar with) it's based on wiring and total load of combined items?

I'm learning something, hopefully not threadjacking, thanks for the explanation.

I have specific interest because we're building a home soon and one thing I want to do is have at least an 80 amp 240 circuit run to the garage for future electric car charging, but now I'm not sure about that.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 12:12PM
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The scope of NEC Articles 430 and 440 is far beyond the intent of this forum. And not all inspectors and electricians seem to grasp all the possible nuances. Even the Code writers messed up some years ago with changes to Article 430 that made no technical sense and bordered on dangerous. They corrected it with the following revision.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 1:04PM
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I was working a couple summers ago and my wife called and said the air conditioner quit and I couldn't break away. I called for hvac repair and was charged $100 to remove a small spider out of the contactor. The air worked.. wife happy and I didn't have to leave work. I thought it was still a very reasonable deal.

Could I have and would I have diagnosed it and fixed it if the spider would have had better timing when I was home... of course.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:19PM
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