If your electrical switch, light switch or wall outlet has stopped working, or you want to add new outlets or replace a circuit breaker, an electrician is the best person for the job. Even though it’s possible for homeowners to repair or install electrical switches and outlets themselves, electrical work is often difficult and dangerous and requires special tools. Many people prefer not to tinker with their electrical system for safety reasons. Unlike Wile E. Coyote, you don’t have endless lives. So unless you’re a knowledgeable electrician—don’t mess with anything beyond the basics in order to save money. For any kind of electrical rewiring, tinkering with an electric fireplace, hanging new lights, or installing new fixtures…definitely call in a pro. It’s not worth the shock.
Installing or replacing an electrical outlet is one of the simpler electrical tasks in any home, taking on average just 15-30 minutes to complete. The electrician will probably completely turn off the electricity at the breaker before starting the job, and will check for signs of failing or dangerous wiring near the outlet. The type of light switch you need replaced or the type of outlet replacement you need will affect the overall cost of an electrical service repair, as will several other factors.
Electric service panel upgrades
Specialized outlets dedicated to appliances such as ranges, dryers and air conditioners are typically more expensive to repair and install than standard outlets. Installing a new, larger 220-volt outlet, for example, requires larger wire, which makes it more expensive than installing a standard outlet. Together, the outlet, wiring, box and labor with fair price and typically take less than an hour.
This job may also require updating an old, possibly out-of-code electrical panel, especially if you have an older home and are upgrading to a modern appliance. The minimum requirement for an electrical breaker panel is 100 amps to support today’s appliances, but they also are available in 150-, 200- and 400-amp capacities. Work with the electrician to determine the right capacity panel for your home; it should exceed your electricity needs so you don’t overwhelm the system and trip the breakers, causing an outage or even a fire. The larger the home, the higher capacity your electrical panel should handle.
If you’re upgrading from an old 60-amp or 100-amp panel to a 200-amp panel, expect the electrician to also install a new meter, disconnect, wire, piping and a weather head.