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New Electrical Panel

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Joined: Oct 30 2003

A couple months ago, the circuit breaker for the line to the washer/dryer began tripping with increasing frequency. I decided I'd simply replace the breaker, but soon found that no one carried that model breaker. I was eventually told by Peninsula Hardware that Square-D stopped making that model CB decades ago. They pointed me to a resource where I was able to purchase a used (but certified working) breaker for $55. E-mail me for name of installer.

Because I'd like to add more circuits, and because I might not be lucky enough to find a working replacement breaker next time, I've decided it's time to update my service panel. My question is this: If I replace the service panel, am I required to immediately bring the rest of the electrical system up to code?

Joined: Mar 21 2003

It may depend on your local codes. If you live in Sunnyvale, a simple call to the building & safety people will answer your question.

We found that they were very easy deal with when we remodeled our kitchen last winter and were very responsive in answering our questions.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

I don't know the official answer but I live in Palo Alto and had my electrician (who advertiser on this site) upgrade my panel. I have not upgraded my electrical system but plan on doing that this year. Everything was signed off by Palo Alto inspectors so that implies that in Palo Alto at least, you can upgrade your panel without upgrading the rest of the system.

Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hi, I'm in San Jose. I upgraded my panel 2 years ago to a 200 amp for about $1850 plus $75 for the permit (which I handled). Although my home was built in 1960, the electrical inspector didn't ask to see or comment on any other wiring.

I agree with a previous poster who recommended you call your city's building inspection department and find out what's involved. Ask them for their website while you're at it.


eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Aug 18 2003

We put in a pool last spring, and upgraded to the 200 amp. panel then (I’m in Walnut Creek, and had it done for $780. E-mail me for name of installer.) The city inspector came out a few times after, checking everything regarding the patio, pool, fence, pump/filter, alarms, etc. and signed off, and honestly, I’m not 100% sure (but I imagine it was) the electric upgrade was a part of that (the new panel is right by the pump/filter area).
Not that I really want to ask this but. . . what sort of work are we talking about in the house itself now? All new wiring (my Eichler is from 1955) I guess? Burrowing into walls and such??
and if we don't. . .?
(double sigh)
Thanks for any info-

Joined: Mar 20 2003

too bad you did not post your email address. Please send me the name of the electrician to: en at stahl-clan dot com. Thanks.

Joined: Apr 21 2003

I live in Castro Valley (unincorporated Alameda County) and when I had an electrician over a few months ago to do some more minor work he told me that my current electrical panel was maxed out (this was clear visually) and that if I wanted/needed any additional electrical connections NOT ONLY would I have to replace the panel (expensive) but that the current code forbids the electrical panel to be in a closet/pantry so that I would have to move the (new) panel to a new location!!! Obviously this is far from ideal.

I will definitely check with with Alameda County building dept before believing this as gospel, but I am wondering if anyone else has been told they couldn't have the electrical panel in the pantry.....

Joined: Apr 26 2003


We are in Oakland, and we were informed of the same thing, a new or upgraded electrical panel cannot be installed in a closet or pantry.

Joined: Jul 1 2003

I got pricing of $1,800 to upgrade the panel to 200a, same as Jake, so your pricing of less than $1K is outstanding. This killed my plans for mini-split A/C (wait until next year!)
I haven't had electrical work done, but I suppose the answer is "it depends". There is at least 1 article on this site on Echler electrical problems (I think Atrium models are more prone because major conduits run in the soil and have electrolyte corrosion) - - so this can be an expensive repair.
If you're adding circuits, new wiring would very likley run over the roof and I would think it would be cheaper than jack hammering into concrete to reach buried conduits.

With respect to avoiding upgrading a panel, one contractor suggested converting the electric clothes dryer to gas - - this was viable for me as the panel, dryer & gas line are in the garage in close proximity - - this would have cost $350 for a gas tap and $500 for a mid-line gas dryer, but would free up about 25a capacity for something else (in my case, a mini-split A/C).

Joined: Aug 18 2003

The electrician put the panel on the back wall, outside, where the meter was- nice and close to the pool pump, filter, etc.

For an electrical recommendation, e-mail me at


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