How to Wire an Electrical Circuit Breaker Panel

An electrical circuit breaker is among the most critical safety features in many homes It protects the circuits from overloading

Preventing potential damage to your appliances. To deliver optimal functionality, proper wiring is a must. Some of you might take this as a DIY task, but that should never be the case. This is one task reserve to the pros. It requires extensive knowledge and expert skills, so better leave it to the electricians.

In this quick guide, we will talk about the basics of wiring your electrical circuit breaker panel. Our goal is to satiate your curiosity and not to encourage you to do it yourself. Mistakes can be dangerous or costly, so only experienced electricians must handle such job.

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1. Identify the Location

The first thing that an electrician identifies is the location of the circuit breaker panel. The most common is in a garage. It can also be located in the basement, especially in case of a buried power line. It should be clear of other installations and should be easily reachable. The height of the center grip should not be more than 6’7” from the ground. The area should be clear so that it is easy to access the breaker panel when needed.

2. Shut Off the Feeder Wire

Before starting with the wiring, the electrician will check the feeder line. This is what connects your home to the main power supply. Working with the feeder line is a dangerous job, so it must be shut.   A voltage tester is used to complete this quick test.

3.  Fix the Knockouts

Next, the electrician will open the box of the circuit breaker. It will have different components, and they will be arranged prior to mounting the panel on the wall. One of the crucial parts is the knockout. These metal parts attach to the main conduit as well as the branch circuits parts of an electrical network. These are the round metal discs in the panel box. They are available in different sizes to match the conduit. A screwdriver or a chisel may be used for opening the conduits. After the removal of the conduit, it is then followed by connecting and securing the cables. Threaded knurled locknuts are used.

How to Wire an Electrical Circuit Breaker Panel
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4.   Fix the Panel

Fixing the panel on the wall is the next thing an electrician does. The anchors and screws are provided in the box that comes with the panel. The electrician will drill holes on the wall to secure the main panel. If there is a conduit that feeds the electricity to your home, the panel will be mounted next to it. This way, the conduits will easily slide into the fittings that are already installed in the panel.

5.   Install the Service Wire

Once the main panel is in place, the service wires are next. A fish tape is fed in the opening of the conduit in the main circuit panel, which is connected to the main service line. Most installations have a single white neutral wire and dual black hot wires. This is then connected to grounding rod.

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6.  Mount the Main Service Neutral

Next, the electrician fixes the main service wire to the neutral bus bar. The main function is to receive the current after it exits the breaker box and flows throughout your home. The location varies from one product to another depending on the manufacturer. It is often distant from the hot bus bars. The best way to identify the neutral bus bar is to look for a silver bar with small screws and connectors. There is a large hole, which is meant for the main service wire to pass through.

7. Connect the Main Circuit Breaker

After setting up the service wire and neutral bus bar, now is the time to connect the amin breaker. The 240-volt breaker is often positioned on the top of the panel. Its main function is to control the electricity that goes to your house. It also links the hot bus bars that run horizontally through the panel. The end of the wires will be stripped to connect the terminal lugs. The electrician ensures there is no bare wire left behind. It is often wrapped with an electrical tape. Otherwise, it represents a safety hazard. After inserting the bare tip of the wire in the breaker, the screw is secured.

How to Wire an Electrical Circuit Breaker Panel
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8. Pull the Branch Circuits

A fish tape can be used for pulling the branch circuits into the main panel. The type of wiring used in the circuits will also depend the type of connector that the electrician uses. As much as possible, there is an allowance when the wire is pulled, and it will be looped inside the edges. Once they are in place, the electrician will then connect the branch circuit wires to the ground bus bar. The wire ends are inserted into the bus bar opening and screwed.

9. Complete the Installation

With almost everything ready by now, the electrician connects the individual branch circuit to the circuit breaker. One of the most important is to select the right breaker depending on the type of system. From the voltage to the amperage, a qualified electrician will know exactly what to pick.

10. Test the Breaker

To complete the installation, the electrician will now close the door of the panel and inform the electric company to turn back the power supply. The circuit breaker is then turned on and the electrician makes sure that everything is working as it should be.

Conclusion

In sum, wiring an electrical circuit breaker panel may seem simple in theory, but it is complicated in practice. Because of this, it is one thing that should be done only by experts. It should never be a DIY task. Regardless of how confident you are of your skills, for your safety, it is best to let the pros handle the job.

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