An electrical panel (or breaker panel) is where all the breaker switches are located. And that’s just what they are; switches that can be flipped. There’s likely a “main” circuit breaker that controls the power to the entire house, but you’ll also see individual breakers, responsible for providing the electricity to various parts of your home. Each circuit breaker has a lever that can be turned “on” or “off.” Each breaker should have its own label so you can identify the area of the house affected.
If you do live in a house still controlled by “fuses,” you won’t see any levers, but instead, you’ll have screw-in fuses. Please note that your home insurance provider will want to know about your electrical panel. If your home still has fuses, you may have difficulty getting insurance, or you may have to pay a higher rate.
The power to your home comes through an electrical meter located outside and is routed to your electrical panel. Remember the “main” circuit breaker, mentioned above? It is usually larger than the rest and can be used to shut off the power to the whole house at once. In other words, it “breaks the circuit.” It also tells you the amperage of your electrical panel. This amperage should be no less than 100 and can be 200 or 400 amps. Please note that your home insurance provider will be very interested in the number of amps. If it’s less than 100, your system may need updating. This could make it difficult for you to obtain insurance, or you may end up having to pay a higher rate.
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