Understanding Your Home’s Electrical Breaker Panel

Electrical service panels can be referred to as a breaker box, fuse box, load center, or panelboard. Your electrical service is the heart of your home or office and is often the most overlooked piece of equipment in your home or office. The electrical service panel is the most important part of the modern building and keeping your service up to date and functioning properly is important.

Things to consider about your electrical service:

  • Age – How old is my breaker panel, original to my home? Time to update after 30 years
  • Rating – The power you have vs. the power you need? Amount of breakers?
  • Style – Indoor, Outdoor, All-In-One, Overhead/Underground?
  • Safety – There are panels that are known to have safety concerns (Federal Pacific)
  • Maintenance – Does my service need to be updated or does it need maintenance?
  • Repair – Damaged services due to fallen tree branches, age or other factors
  • Additions – Sub-Panels for services that just need more space

Knowledge and Facts:

  • Service panels require licensed electricians for new services, upgrades, and repairs
  • Panels are one of the most overlooked pieces in your home, going years without any type of maintenance
  • Electrical services are come in all different ratings, sizes and styles
  • Xcel underground services are generally capable of 200 amps

Electric Doctor installs, replaces, upgrades and performs maintenance on all electrical services in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Electric Doctor also provides installations for new construction, additions, and remodel projects.

Things to Ask:

  1. Verify any company you may hire on the BBB for complaints & rating
  2. Ask the company if they are licensed & insured in your city/county
  3. Ask the company if they are up to date with all the latest National Electric Codes
  4. Ask for references specific to service changes and upgrades
  5. Know if your service is overhead or underground
  6. Know where the cold water shut off is in your home
  7. Common Modern Breaker Brands – GE, ITE (Siemens), Square-D, Cutler Hammer, Challenger
  8. Older Style Breaker Brands – Westinghouse, Federal Pacific (FPE), Zinsco, Bulldog (Pushmatic)

Things to Know:

Overhead services have a riser going up from the meter box and tie to an overhead wire from the power company.

Underground services have a conduit going down from the meter into the ground.

An overhead to underground service has a riser for the incoming line and then goes to an underground conduit to feed a service or anoth

An all-in-one service has the meter and main electrical breakers contained in one unit and can be overhead or underground.

Arc-Fault breakers are new breakers with additional safety features and a safety test button. Arc-Fault and Combination Arc-Fault type breakers will trip easier than older breakers. We diagnose Arc-Fault breaker issues.

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