An electrical panel is an essential part of any home’s electrical system. It is the central hub for all of the electrical wiring and components that power your home. The electric panel controls, distributes, and regulates the electricity to every device in your home. In other words, it acts as a switchboard to ensure that each appliance or light you have plugged into the wall is getting the necessary electrical power.
It also acts as a protective mechanism for your electrical system, disconnecting the current flow when there is an electrical problem until the issue is resolved. All the circuits in your home are connected to the residential electrical panel, and the circuit breakers within the panel are controlled using levers marked with "on" and "off" positions.
The Importance of Understanding Your Residential Electric Panel
It is important to note that not all electrical panels are created equal. Different types of electric panels, such as main lug or main breaker panels, exist for different purposes. By understanding your residential electrical panel, you can ensure the safety of your home and make well-informed decisions when it comes to upgrades or renovations. With the help of a licensed electrician, you can bring your home’s electrical system up to date and have peace of mind knowing that your family is safe.
Key Components of a Residential Electrical Panel
|Controls the flow of electricity from the utility into your home, acting as a master disconnect for power shut-off in emergencies or maintenance.
|Individual switches controlling electricity flow to different circuits in your home. Each is connected to a specific area or electrical appliance, providing protection against overloads or short circuits.
Neutral Bus Bar
|A metal strip where the neutral wires from all the circuits are connected. Carries the return current from electrical devices back to the panel, completing the circuit.
Grounding Bus Bar
|A metal strip dedicated to connecting the grounding wires from various circuits. Essential for redirecting electrical faults or excess current safely into the ground.
|Metal strips that carry the incoming electricity from the main breaker to the individual circuit breakers. There are typically two bus bars—one for the hot wires and one for the neutral wires.
|Devices in some modern panels that safeguard your electrical system by diverting excess voltage caused by power surges, such as those from lightning strikes or utility grid fluctuations.
Exploring Different Types of Residential Electrical Panels
When it comes to residential electrical panels, there are two main types: main breaker and main lug. Both types of electric panels have pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the differences before deciding which type of panel is best for your home.
Type of Panel
Main Breaker Panels
Most commonly used type of residential electrical panel. Features a lever-operated main switch that can cut off power to the entire panel. Typically found in homes built before the mid-1980s and features between 8 and 20 circuit breakers.
General household use, particularly in older homes.
Main Lug Panels
Gaining popularity in modern homes. These panels feature individual circuit breakers rather than a lever-operated main breaker, and they are designed to be easier to install and maintain.
Modern homes, urban renovations.
Smaller versions of the main electrical panel. Used when additional circuits are needed for specialty applications or renovations.
Home offices, workshops, entertainment rooms, home renovations or expansions where increased electrical load is expected
Upgrading Your Electrical Panel: When and How
In Boston, many homeowners are turning to licensed electricians for upgrading their aging residential electrical panels. With older homes often comes outdated electrical systems, so updated electrical panels provide increased safety and allow for more modern conveniences such as high-powered appliances or additional outlets.
Whether you are looking to renovate for safety reasons or just want to upgrade your home’s electrical system, the team of licensed electricians at Home Mechanics will ensure the job is done right. Our expertise and knowledge of different types of residential electrical panels will provide peace of mind that your system is up to code and compliant with all safety regulations.
Contact us today and let us help you power your home safely!