4 Different Ways To Determine The Capacity Of Your Home's Circuit Breaker Panel

Posted on: 8 September 2016

As a homeowner, it's a good idea to know the capacity of your home's circuit breaker panel, especially if you are upgrading appliances or adding on an addition to your house. The circuit breaker panel, also called the electrical panel or fuse box, is the main electrical distribution point for all the electronic devices in your home. A typical home has a panel that provides between 100 and 200 amps. Keep reading to learn 4 different ways to determine the total amount of power your circuit break panel can safely handle:

1. Panel And Bus Ratings

This is arguably the most important of all 4 fuse box ratings because it's the best guide for the total amount of electrical current that your breaker panel can handle safely. This rating is typically listed on a tag found on the inside of the panel door. The tag will tell you the maximum voltage, current, and power dissipation capability for both the panel and the buses. Unlike other ratings that can be modified by substituting a higher-rated component, the panel and bus ratings can't be modified or expanded. If you determine that your breaker panel is handling more power than it's designed for, you are probably experiencing a lot of short circuits. Call an emergency electrician, like one from Double L Electric Ltd, to repair this as soon as possible, before it starts a fire.

2. Service Meter Ampacity

On the side of the service meter you should see a sticker that will tell you the total power dissipation. This sticker will also indicate the maximum voltage and power that the meter is capable of safely handling. In most cases, the meter and the service meter base are the same number, but not always. If you would like to find the service meter base rating, call your local licensed electrician.

3. Main Input Breaker Rating

This rating is a little deceiving because it only tells you the maximum that is able to be supplied by the service panel. This rating will not provide you with an accurate measure of how much amperage the panel is able to handle or what the service cables are capable of supplying. To find the main input breaker rating, simply read the sticker on the breaker handle.

4. Service Entrance Cable Ampacity

To find out what the service cables are capable of supplying, you need to do a calculation. There is a formula for this calculation that includes variances for cable size and ambient temperature, because the thicker the cable and the colder the air, the higher the capacity will be. Here is the formula:

1. Find the voltage and power ratings on the cable's label.

2. Divide the cable's power rating by the voltage rating. This will give you the amount of maps the cable is capable of carrying. Most service cables have a 600-volt rating.

3. Most American homes have 2 main electrical cables that can handle 120 volts each, and another neutral wire. This is about 1/5 of 600 volts. So, multiply 600 by 5 to get the results.

For example, a 2400-watts cable at 600 volts can deliver 20 amperes at 120 volts or 4 amperes at 600 volts.

Now you are armed with several different ways to determine the capacity of your home's fuse box. If you have any questions about the electricity in your home, call your local licensed electrician. He or she will be happy to help you. If you are constantly blowing fuses in your circuit breaker, then it's best to call an emergency electrician to fix the problem ASAP, before a fire erupts in your home.


Spotting Electrical Problems In Your Home

My name is Bob Moore and I buy older homes, fix them up and then sell them. Many older homes have unsafe electrical wiring, so I always contact a local electrician to inspect the electrical system and make the necessary repairs. Sometimes the electrician has to rip out all the old wiring and rewire the entire house. Before I sell a house, I want to make sure that it's safe for the new owners. Since I've been flipping houses, I've learned a lot about home electrical systems and how to spot faulty wiring. Every homeowner should know this important information and that's why I started this blog. I'll tell you the signs to look for that points to an electrical problem. You'll also learn when you should immediately call an electrician. I hope that you'll gain knowledge from my blog and it helps you to stay safe in your home.