circuit breakers, meyer electrical services
Written by Walt Meyer

Upgrade Old Fuse Box with Circuit Breakers – Part 2

Part 2 will discuss important project considerations. Work with an experienced licensed electrician for the best results.


Every electrical upgrade presents challenges. Sometimes fuse boxes are “grandfathered in” and do not have to be replaced if they are left alone. However, replacing a portion of a grandfathered electrical system may require redoing the entire system to comply with current codes. As a result, project costs will increase.

Wiring and Insulation

Making the transition to breakers from fuses may mean having to also replace wiring and insulation. There is a tendency for upgrades to expand, increasing expenses. However, replacing outdated equipment will allow your home’s electrical system to better serve modern demands in terms of power and decrease the risk of electrical fire.

Incoming Service

If you want to install a larger electrical panel, find out the size of your home’s incoming electrical service first. If it’s only 60-amp and you plan to install a 200-amp system, you must contact your utility company to have the service upgraded. The wiring entering your home will need to be changed as the new circuit breakers will not match the current fuse sizes.

Main Disconnect Switch

The main disconnect switch should be inspected as well. Will it be necessary to replace its fuses or can you let them be? If the main fuses can stay, the supplies and installation will be straightforward, so upgrading will cost $500 to $1,500. However, if the main disconnect fuses require replacement, along with a considerable portion of the current system, the costs will be increased.

Breakers and Panels

It is important to match the circuit breakers with the existing fuses. For example, do not try installing a 30-amp breaker where a 10-amp fuse is housed. Not only is this very hazardous, it will very likely cause damage.

It would be wise to install a 200-amp panel to meet future electrical demands. The number of electrical appliances and devices in a home is steadily increasing every year.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.