Question on electrical panel

41 Replies

My electric just installed electrical panel. I did not find any GFCI breakers. He said that the house does not need it due to the age. I am planning to rewire the whole house. I am not sure what he is doing is right. He is charging 2400 for 1 main panel and service going up to 200 amp. Any hints? Should I accept his job?

A proper electrician may have a better answer, but...

I’ve usually only seen GFCI outlets near sources of water instead of GFCI breakers. If you’re re-wiring you could simply install the correct outlets in bathrooms and kitchen. (Some people prefer these as they are easier to reset than going out to the breaker box to reset.)

@Account Closed Good day, I’m a licensed electrical contractor in NJ. Perhaps I can shed some light on your issue. Your question pertains to the installation of GFCI circuit breakers during an electrical service upgrade. GFCI protection is required for outlets near a water source(like a sink or bath tub), anywhere on the exterior of the building or in an unfinished portion of a structure(like an attic or crawl space). There are a few ways you can accomplish protecting these circuits, however there are two that are used way more than the others. One is the way you mentioned, installing a GFCI circuit breaker, in which case provides GFCI protection for the whole circuit. However, the downside is the cost and that each time an issue arises, you have to reset the circuit at the panel. The other is using GFCI receptacles, these are the outlets you see with the “RESET” and “TEST” buttons on them. For the most part, these keep the reset situations local to the room you are in. Since you hired your electrician to upgrade your service, he is only responsible for that portion of the work, which includes replacing everything from the weather head to the electric panel. If you require your electrician to install GFCI receptacles in other areas of the building or want them to install GFCI circuit breakers, let them know, and they will give you a price for the work. I hope this helps, please let me know if you require any further clarification. Best of luck.

You are planning on rewiring the whole house , then the electrician will add GFI  protection where needed at that time . What you had done was done correctly 

I would not use a GFCI wired into the panel if it is a rental. If you do, they will call every time it is tripped.

If it is a flip you can do one of the two does not matter .

I have a question you said rewire a house ,are you pulling new wires for the whole house?  

If so how much are they charging ?

@Account Closed I highly doubt you need to rewire the house unless it is a hundred years old. Is he installing a new mast or meter? A new main panel for 200 amp service shouldn’t cost you more than $1,500 parts included. That’s a one day job for a competent electrician for a normal size house with 6-10 fuses.

Originally posted by @Steve B. :

@Sophie Maisel I highly doubt you need to rewire the house unless it is a hundred years old. Is he installing a new mast or meter? A new main panel for 200 amp service shouldn’t cost you more than $1,500 parts included. That’s a one day job for a competent electrician for a normal size house with 6-10 fuses.

 yeah, a new meter and mast. I know he is overcharging, he quoted firstly on 3 panels then he cut off 2 off them and combined everything to 1. 

Originally posted by Account Closed:

My electric just installed electrical panel. I did not find any GFCI breakers. He said that the house does not need it due to the age. I am planning to rewire the whole house. I am not sure what he is doing is right. He is charging 2400 for 1 main panel and service going up to 200 amp. Any hints? Should I accept his job?

 Didn’t you get more quotes?

@Account Closed all 15 amp and 20 amp circuits should be afci protected and in some cases like you’ve mentioned “close to water” or unfinished portions of the home that should be gfci or dual breakers afci/gfci but this is on “new construction” I would have thought a panel replacement would be required to follow code though but not sure.

@Account Closed Did you get a bid prior to the work spelling out what and for how much? Does a new panel require a permit? If yes, then probably has to meet current code. If you supplied the panel and it didn’t come with gfi breakers...the ones at Home Depot don’t...then maybe you should buy some. Most people upgrade older homes with gfi plugs in the bath and kitchen and outdoors. Arc fault breakers in bedrooms are code too.

@Account Closed well, you said he just installed it, so you already accepted his job when you allowed him to do his bid work. As long as it looks according to agreement. If you plan to rewire house, you will have lots of drywall repair. I’m doing a house now, and putting in all new wires because the home run wires can be seen, so now the house has all new wiring which is valuable. Make sure you hire someone expensive if you do all new wiring, because cheap labor does not exist. Get the guy who charges more for things like electric and you’ll end up saving money usually.

@Jonathan Greer

No, I did not accept his job. He is finalizing it and I will pay when I see it's done.

I just installed a new panel in a house yesterday. Working with that 4/0 aluminum wire was a big pain in the rear. It's an upgrade from 60 amp to 150 amp as I'm making the house all electric to eliminate the gas service. I always use gfci outlets and not the circuit breaker types.

The electrician should do exactly what you both agreed to. Upgrading service in my case involved a new outside box with disconnect main breaker and meter socket, new mast/weatherhead with heavier wire, installation of two 8' long ground rods and the inside load center. It's a lot of work.

Copper wire conductors in NM sheathed cable or in rigid metal or PVC plastic conduit has been the norm since the mid-1970s, and there are currently no new innovations in the wiring materials themselves.

Most houses I have issues are from the 1950s old rag wire with no ground the cloth is brittle from heating of the current over the years.

Lots of flippers will cobble together a house, install new wire where they are forced too leave old rag wire to rot away.

@Richard Ring she hired an electrician, it would be extreme unusual if he didn’t pull the permit.

@Account Closed . I’m not implying you got ripped off. The price you were quoted seems average. I’ve seen much worse.

Also it’s amazing that contractors and electricians are advising you pay top prices and you will get your money back from a rewire. My dentist also just advised me I need all new gold fillings and timeshares are great investments.

@Account Closed According to one of your posts, originally there was 3 panels, and then 2 and he is combining them all into 1. Just because he is removing 3 existing panels and combining them into 1 does not mean you are being overcharged. You could be, but that is not the deciding factor. Your market, as with any market, dictates the price. Therefore, you should get 3 quotes for the prescribed work, then based on how each contractor communicates with you, make your decision on who to hire. As stated earlier, I am licensed in NJ. I started doing residential electric work in 2004, back then we charged $1800-$2000 for a 200 amp service upgrade, and I don’t recall a time when we lost a bid. The only major code change on services is the addition of Arc Fault circuit breakers. They add approx. $30 in material per circuit and another $100 or so in labor. This is because these breakers have an additional wire that gets tied in at the panel. Also, at the local level, the NEC (National Electric Code) is governed by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Your locale might not require Arc Fault protection on service upgrades, happens all of the time here in NJ and varies from town to town.

I currently charge $2200–$3000 and none of my customers(who are all investors) ever made a comment about the price.

The Austin market is hot, I have family there, they own rental property there. My brother in law tells me his GC floats approx. $40k in work per month, and that GC is a transplant from the Northeast. That tells me he built a skill set elsewhere and moved to where the work is.

As for the condensing of three panels into one, this requires a significant amount of work. It should take two electricians one full day to complete. Based on all of the variables covered in this thread, I would not feel you are being overcharged. Some markets are cheaper than others, I don’t feel Austin with its ever growing population is one of them. I know it’s hard to read through the BS on BP, and believe me, there is plenty, I would suggest you learn the proper vernacular for each facet of residential construction. As plenty of folks on here are way off with their terminology and this will only confuse you. Since it is your property, you need to do the best research you can and be responsible for the end result in your choice. Feel free to reach out to me if you require any assistance. Best of luck.

Originally posted by @Robert S. :

@Sophie Maisel According to one of your posts, originally there was 3 panels, and then 2 and he is combining them all into 1. Just because he is removing 3 existing panels and combining them into 1 does not mean you are being overcharged. You could be, but that is not the deciding factor. Your market, as with any market, dictates the price. Therefore, you should get 3 quotes for the prescribed work, then based on how each contractor communicates with you, make your decision on who to hire. As stated earlier, I am licensed in NJ. I started doing residential electric work in 2004, back then we charged $1800-$2000 for a 200 amp service upgrade, and I don’t recall a time when we lost a bid. The only major code change on services is the addition of Arc Fault circuit breakers. They add approx. $30 in material per circuit and another $100 or so in labor. This is because these breakers have an additional wire that gets tied in at the panel. Also, at the local level, the NEC (National Electric Code) is governed by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Your locale might not require Arc Fault protection on service upgrades, happens all of the time here in NJ and varies from town to town.

I currently charge $2200–$3000 and none of my customers(who are all investors) ever made a comment about the price.

The Austin market is hot, I have family there, they own rental property there. My brother in law tells me his GC floats approx. $40k in work per month, and that GC is a transplant from the Northeast. That tells me he built a skill set elsewhere and moved to where the work is.

As for the condensing of three panels into one, this requires a significant amount of work. It should take two electricians one full day to complete. Based on all of the variables covered in this thread, I would not feel you are being overcharged. Some markets are cheaper than others, I don’t feel Austin with its ever growing population is one of them. I know it’s hard to read through the BS on BP, and believe me, there is plenty, I would suggest you learn the proper vernacular for each facet of residential construction. As plenty of folks on here are way off with their terminology and this will only confuse you. Since it is your property, you need to do the best research you can and be responsible for the end result in your choice. Feel free to reach out to me if you require any assistance. Best of luck.

 thanks a lot for taking time and giving me a professional opinion. I wonder if you think GFCI and/or AFCI breakers should be installed? The installation passed a permit from the city. However, since this is a flip, the home inspector is usually points a finger on GFCI and I don't want to do this work if I get under the contract to sell this flip.

@Account Closed

I would put a call into your local AHJ and see what the requirements are. Every jurisdiction is on a different code cycle. There also is no such thing as a grandfather clause.

Kitchens, bathrooms, outside plugs, garages, and unfinished basements have required GFCI protection since the 2008 code. I would expect at least those circuits brought up that level of protection.

If he is just swapping a panel, without doing the outside meter socket, grounding and bonding, he is making a killing, and I should think about moving down by you.

I get 3K for a complete service upgrade going from 100 amp to 200 amp. That includes new meter socket out side, new grounding, new service conductors outside, all new breakers inside, new bonding to water meter, and kitchen, bathroom, outside, basement and garage circuits put on GFCI

Breakers.

If the work is already done, was a permit pulled, has it been inspected? Did you ask for license and insurance binder?

It is good you are asking questions. My reference is NH, VT, ME, and MA. I am not familiar with your market, but sounds to me like you are not getting the value in your upgrade.

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