We are building a barbecue bar near our pool outside in Corpus Christi. Currently the pool equipment is on the same electrical panel with the rest of the house and sometimes it gets overloaded and throws a switch. Should we move the barbecue bar electrical outlets and lighting to a separate electrical panel, maybe with the pool equipment? How much does that usually cost?
Kathy K. ~ Corpus Christi, Texas
Hi Kathy, I would be very surprised if you needed to upgrade your electric service because of a swimming pool and barbecue bar. The only times I have had to upgrade electric services in the past were if one of the homeowners had a hobby such as woodworking or an auto shop which used a lot of electricity.
It sounds to me like you may just have too many items on certain electrical circuits, and an electrical contractor may need to rearrange some loading so that some circuits, such as the one with the pool equipment, have less load on them. The electrician may have to add some circuits, and if your electrical panel already has most of the slots used up, then they may have to add a sub-panel. A sub-panel is an addition to your existing electrical panel, but doesn't increase the size of your service.
Cost is going to vary a lot depending on whether most of the work can be done at the panel, or if some rearranging can be done at the pool equipment, or if the electrician has to run some new lines from the panel to the pool equipment or other areas of your home and yard. Most electricians are going to base a project like this on labor and material costs. They may be able to give you a fairly accurate estimate of the cost if they get a chance to examine your electrical panel and home wiring prior to arriving at a price for the work.
Not knowing what they are going to have to do to correct your problem means I am only going to be able to give you a range of costs. If they are able to correct it by just doing some adjustments in the panel box or at the pool equipment, then I believe your costs should be around $300-$500. It may be less if labor costs are lower in Corpus Christi, Texas than they are where I live. If they have to install a new sub-panel and run additional lines to the pool equipment and barbeque bar, then the costs could get as high as $600-$800, again depending on costs in your area.
Always make sure that any electrical work you have done is inspected by your local jurisdiction, even if it seems like a minor change or correction. Electrical work done incorrectly can be very dangerous for your home and family.