Main panel Replacements
Electrical panels serve two purposes – to provide electricity and safety. However, many homeowners may find it difficult to determine if they need an electrical panel upgrade or replacement.
Ultimately, safety for your family comes first. Here are some things you should consider about replacing the electrical panel in your home.
Generally speaking, electrical panels will last years. Age is not always a primary concern when looking at an electrical panel replacement. Some electrical panel brands are inherently faulty and need replacement with newer electrical panels that meet modern safety standards.
Electrical panels that are undersized, at maximum circuit capacity, or lack UL safety standards need updating or replacement regardless of age.
Replacement of an old panel will allow for your home to get a consistent supply of electricity thanks to the new electrical panel. You will be able to install more appliances without tripping your breaker, blowing fuses, or harming existing appliances, which will not only solve the issues with flickering lights but also burned-out appliances.
Six Hand Turn Rule Panels
The split bus panel design took advantage of a NEC (National Electric Code) allowance that a main service panel could have up to six switch-throws to shut off all power. The top cluster of breakers, usually the top two or three in each column for a total of four or six breakers, are each marked at the side as a “main breaker”. At the back of the panel box, the two bus bars (vertical strips of metal that connect to each breaker to supply power to the wiring) are separated in the middle, with all of the main breakers connected to the top bus sections.
One of the top main 240-volt breakers feeds the bottom bus bars, which is typically 120-volt household lighting and receptacle circuits. Shutting off that breaker leaves all the bottom breakers dead, but the other mains at the top cluster that feed major appliances such as the water heater, range, and air conditioner will remain live and must be shut off individually.