Basic Information About Your Electrical Panel

The breaker box in the average home does not look like much, but that is the entire reason that you are able to use electricity in your home. The breaker box, which is also called the service panel, is the central relay station in your home’s electrical usage. It takes in the power from the line on your street and feeds the power to various electrical outlets and appliances in the house.

If you need service panel installation or service, it is best to always leave it to a professional. However, this article will help to shed some light on the basic aspects of the service panel:

  • Double pole service disconnect: This is the switch that is at the top and is bigger than the rest. It also is referred to as the “main.” This is where the two hot wires from your electric company hook up to the home. Each wire has 120 volts. If you shut it off, the entire power supply to the home is turned off.
  • Hot bus bars: From the main, each one of the hot lines from the electrical company goes into a separate bus. The bus looks like a metal bar. One bar runs up and down on the left side, and the other runs on the right side.
  • Neutral bus: The third metal bar is the neutral bus and gets the electric current back after it has gone through the box and went into your home.
  • Circuit breakers: These straddle your hot bus bars. If there is any kind of an overload, the circuit that handles that part of the house will shut off. This prevents an overload that could lead to a short or a fire.

If a breaker trips, you always can turn it back on yourself. But you should always leave any electrical work to a licensed electrician.