Complete Guide To Home Electrical Panels

You switch on your brand-new Hoover by plugging it in. The lights in your kitchen turn off immediately and the digital clocks on your appliances disappear. Is this a power outage? Nope, it’s probably a broken breaker. Breakers are safety switches that automatically turn off the power of certain parts of your home when the electrical circuit is overloaded. Buy electrical panels from trusted brands. Find the right panel for your project with a huge selection of electrical panels. The electrical panel, which serves as the “brain” of your home’s electrical system, houses a large number of breakers. Here is our complete guide to household electrical panels:

What Is An Electrical Panel?

A metal box with a door known as an electrical panel (also known as a breaker panel) is often integrated into a wall at an outside corner of your home. Inside, you will find all the breaker switches in your home.

You can turn the breaker switch on and off. When too much electric current is running through them, they automatically turn off.

There is a primary circuit breaker in the electrical panel that manages the electricity for the entire house. You will also see individual breakers, each responsible for providing power to a specific part of your home. 

Some older houses do not have breakers; instead, they have fuses. If you have a fuse box, you will not see any switches on your electrical panel; you will see screw-in fuses. You can have trouble acquiring insurance or your premiums might go up if your house still has a fuse box. We will address fuses and home insurance at the bottom of the page.

How To Locate Your Panel

Electrical panels are metal boxes, usually brown. They frequently integrate into a wall.

Doors are present on electrical panels, or at least they should be. You will discover a variety of cables and switches those switches are your breakers behind the door. Electrical panels are generally in the outside part of your home. Electrical panels are frequently installed in garages, basements, laundry rooms, storage rooms, and storage rooms. In older homes, you may also have to look outside the house to find your panel.

The panel is typically located inside the bedroom door or next to the entryway in flats. Most houses have just one electrical panel, although some may have subpanels, especially houses that have many surviving units. See the FAQ section for more information on the sub-panels.

How Does An Electrical Panel Work?

Circuit breakers trip (i.e. turn off) when the circuit is overloaded. They are safety devices, intended to prevent damage to electrical appliances or the house itself. If the breaker does not trip and does not turn off the power, the overloaded circuit may catch fire or cause someone to get current.

Each breaker controls a circuit; each circuit typically corresponds to an area of a room or house. Power-hungry devices such as electric ranges or air conditioners can have their own breaker.

A breaker is designed to carry a fixed electrical load; if the electrical load for the breaker becomes too high, it stops. This happens when you have too many devices plugged into a circuit, for example.

Breakers have mixed sizes depending on how much power they need. Individual breakers are divided by the amount of amperage they can handle, similar to home electrical service. Breakers range from 15 to 200 amperes; however, most are 15, 20, or 30 amperes.

Electric Code Circuit Breaker Panel Box Requirements

Building codes control electrical panels. For safety reasons, panels are required to follow several standard requirements.

Although each province and municipality’s building codes differ in Canada, generally speaking, they dictate:

  • The height at which the breaker box should be.
  • Location of the breaker box within the House. For example, they cannot be in bathrooms.
  • Access to the breaker box. As such, the box cannot be behind the bookshelf and the panel door must always have clear space to open.
  • Breakers must be clearly labeled. 

There are several other complex criteria for breaker boxes in the electric code. You should not worry, though, unless you are an electrician, as only a Qualified Person should ever operate on breaker boxes or electrical wiring.

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