Electrical Panel

How It Works

A home’s electrical panel sends power to electrical devices and outlets. The panel has one large circuit breaker to protect the home and many small circuit breakers to protect individual appliances. These circuit breakers are built to automatically cut power when there’s an electricity problem. The circuit breaker box is usually located in the basement, closet or attached garage.

What Can Go Wrong?

Breakers failing to open or close and blown fuses sometimes occur and will require replacement. If a circuit breaker keeps tripping or a fuse repeatedly blows even after replacement, investigate the underlying cause. Loose connections may cause excessive heat and may lead to fire. If the panel becomes excessively dirty or is exposed to moisture, one or more breakers may open.

Size and Carbon Footprint

An electrical panel is rated in amps. The type and size of an electrical panel depends on the age and quantity of loads in a home. Prior to the 1960s, electrical panels were typically rated 100 amps and contained screw and cartridge type fuses. Today, home electrical panels contain circuit breakers and are typically rated up to 200 amps. Common fuse and circuit breaker sizes range from 15 amps to 40 amps. A 15 or 20-amp circuit breaker usually protects lights and wall outlet circuits. Clothes dryers and central air conditioning units are normally protected by 30-amp breakers while ranges are protected by 40-amp breakers.

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