Reasonable cost to replace electrical panel?

kudzu9October 20, 2011

My father-in-law is selling his 1960's rambler in small town Idaho (Coeur d'Alene). The basement was finished about 25 years ago and a new panel was put in. The panel is Federal Pacific, which I know has a less-than-good reputation, although he has never had any electrical problems. The home inspector recommended it be replaced, although that was based on the brand of the panel rather than any identified problem. A local electrician gave a quote of $1500 to put in a new panel. The existing panel is in a fully accessible location and the house is well-wired so no additional wiring or circuits would be needed. I replaced a panel once, myself, and it did not seem like a very demanding thing to accomplish even for someone who was not an electrician (and it passed inspection!). Since I live several hundred miles away from him, I am not volunteering to do this job. So, I'm wondering how reasonable the $1500 quote is for a job like this that's not in a major metropolitan area. Lastly, is the panel replacement really a necessity?

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"is the panel replacement really a necessity?"

Who's inspector?

A buyer?

A penal is a two person 8 hour job, and depending on the local POC may require a return trip.

The only way to have a real idea is to get another bid for the same work.

Ad a third bid may be required.

It is not all that hard, but there are a lot of details that must be correct.

it is unlikely you will get away without updating the grounding system.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 8:04PM
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it probably cost ten thousand dollars

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:17AM
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"it probably cost ten thousand dollars"

That IS a little high.

$1,500 is probably a bargain though.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:40AM
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Ron Natalie

In Suburban VA I paid ~$2000 for a simple panel replacement, so $1500 in Couer D'Alene doesn't sound too far off. You're looking at several hundred dollars in materials for just the panel / breakers and the good part of the day for two guys and whatever they need to do to get the power company to reseal the meter or whatever is necessary to pull the main service.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Thanks, brickeyee and ron, for the reality check.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 12:32PM
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I would travel to Idaho and do it myself for $10 grand.

First of all, is the wiring aluminum? Second, we refer to FP panels as widow-makers. On the off chance the wiring is aluminum you need to have your exceptionally cheap electrician check out how the switches and recepticles are wired. Oh, by the way, hire a licensed master electrician, not some handy man.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Thanks for the offer, but it's all copper, the electrician is a licensed master with good references, and, for $1500, we're going with him. He's going to put in a larger (200 amp) Siemens panel, run new wires from the service drop, and split up two circuits he spotted that were double-tapped on one breaker. I'm satisfied.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 12:56AM
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Had the opportunity to drive through your beautiful state in route to Seattle.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Your realtor conned you into doing a pre-sale inspection? Maybe the housing market is so bad that a house has to be perfect to have a prayer of selling it, but you have to watch them as they will do anything to increase their commission.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Nope...the panel was fingered by the buyer's home inspector.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Just had it done, for breakers were not working, threw the Main and power was still coming out....Federal Pacific! Quick Google, it is a hazard looking to happen. I had a licensed firm come in and do the job (so I'd have no problem from my insurance co if anything went wrong in the future.) My total cost was right at $2K - and I can sleep in peace now, knowing it is safe.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 7:13PM
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