Is Your Main Electrical Panel Up to Par
You probably know where the main electrical panel in your home is. But do you actually know what it does? If not, read on for a brief introduction to this critical piece of equipment.
In a way, your home’s electrical system operates a little like the human body. Each part plays its own essential role, some more prominent than others. And the main electrical panel is the part that makes the whole system function: the heart. All the power flowing through your home from the utility company enters through and is moderated by this panel, which includes circuit breakers—not unlike the heart’s chambers—to prevent electricity overloads.
Also like the heart, the main electrical panel controls distribution for all the electric circuits in your home. While wires and circuits are the words we use, they’re pretty comparable to the veins and arteries that help the heart pump life-giving force through your body. When the power comes in from the utility company, it goes through service wire lugs—highly dangerous points that should never be touched—into the panel, which then sends it out through exit wires/branch circuits that split off to service the entire home.
Those branch circuits are controlled by circuit breakers on the main electrical panel—and that’s the part you probably already know. These allow you to shut down electricity in a certain area for safety purposes.
The anatomy of a main electrical panel includes the housing unit, the panel doors, circuit breakers, hot bus bars, a neutral bar, and a ground wire and ground bar.
Due to the highly sensitive nature of these parts, particularly the service wire lugs, which represent the entirety of the energy coming into your home, changing or upgrading the main electrical panel must be handled by a certified electrician.