Parts of an Electrical Panel

The electrical panel in your home is the hub that provides power for all of the wiring and appliances in it. It is important to know the different parts of a panel to understand how they work. The most important part is the circuit breaker which is the safety switch that keeps the current flowing through the system at a safe level. If there is a problem with the electrical panel, it can cause serious damage and even fires. The electrical panels should always be kept in good condition to prevent these problems.

An electrical panel is a centralized control unit that provides overcurrent protection and a means of disconnecting lighting, appliances, receptacles and other small load circuits in a residential or commercial building or site’s overall power distribution system. The panels can be found in homes, factories and many other settings. Generally, they are located in a garage, basement, or utility closet.

A typical electric panel consists of several rows of circuit breakers that are controlled by the main breaker. Usually, the breaker will have a label indicating the ampere capacity that it is designed to handle. The main breaker will also have a lever that allows the breaker to be moved to the “On” or “Off” position. This lever will control all of the other breakers in the panel.

Each breaker has its own function and can be either single-pole or double-pole. Single-pole breakers are more common in homes and take up one slot while double-pole breakers are used for larger residential or commercial circuits and can occupy two slots.

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is another important component of the electrical panel and it can be found in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, laundry rooms and other areas that may have water outlets. GFCIs are intended to protect against dangerous electrical shocks by shutting off electricity when there is an unsafe imbalance of current between the hot and cold wires. A GFCI is not to be confused with an AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter).

Most electrical panels are designed to remain silent but the sound of a buzzing can indicate that some of the components are beginning to wear out. This can be a sign that it’s time to upgrade the electrical panel.

The most common residential electrical panel is rated 100 amps and will be sufficient for most average size homes. If you have a large home with multiple outlets, a hot tub and/or a backup generator it may be necessary to install a second electrical panel with a higher capacity. It is important to have a rough idea of how much power your home uses before deciding on the size of the electrical panel. It is also a good idea to look for an electrical panel that has ISO certifications as these can be indicative of a high-quality product. This will ensure that the manufacturer has certain processes in place to keep their products consistent and reliable.