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What is a Circuit Breaker Panel?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2016
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An electrical circuit breaker panel is the main electrical circuit distributor inside of a home. The circuit breaker panel can provide a home with up to 200 amps of power. In order for electricity to flow into a home, a circuit breaker panel is needed. Electricity is provided by a utility company, to an electrical meter, through an electrical disconnect, and then into a home's circuit breaker.

Most circuit breakers contain two rows of switches. Each switch corresponds with a different portion of a home. The main breaker is generally larger than all the other switches inside of the breaker panel, and this switch will effectively cut power to an entire home if it is turned off.

Legally, homes must have a circuit breaker panel that can provide at least 100 amps of power. Older homes may still have circuit breaker panels that are only capable of 60 amps, though these breaker panels cannot power most modern electrical devices. Installation-wise, homes that have numerous electronic devices should be equipped with 200-amp breaker panels. Otherwise, the demand for electricity from various devices cannot be met by a home's breaker panel.

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The amount of power that a home requires can be calculated by looking at each electrical device inside of a home. Each device should contain a number rating. The number ratings from all major devices inside of a home can be added together in order to determine the size of a breaker panel. Homeowners that are unsure of the amount of electricity needed should speak with a licensed electrician before installing a circuit breaker panel. Installing the wrong kind of panel may cause various devices to short-circuit.

Circuit breaker panels exist in order to provide appliances inside of a home with electricity. In addition, electricity can be stopped by flipping a breaker switch to the off position. To do this, simply push the breaker into the off position. To turn a breaker back on, the same switch can be placed back into the on position with ease.

There are various reasons why certain areas of a home may need to be powered-down on occasion. Likewise, various breakers may need to be flipped to the on position following any loss of electricity. A circuit breaker panel makes controlling electricity inside of a home easy to do. Thus, even those homes that are outdated breaker-wise should be updated as soon as possible to avoid electrical complications.

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