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Replacing a Circuit Breaker Panel: How to Choose a New Panel

replacing a circuit breaker panel

Choosing a New Circuit Breaker Panel: A Step-by-Step Guide
Hiring a reliable electrician in Poplar Grove is a valuable opportunity. Don’t risk your safety attempting DIY electrical projects, especially when it comes to replacing the circuit breaker panel in Rockford. Instead, seek the expertise of a professional. We can handle the necessary preparations and alleviate any concerns about working with high-voltage electricity.

Additionally, we can assist you with creating circuit breaker panel labels. Replacing your circuit breaker panel can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with electrical work. However, understanding the basics of what a circuit breaker panel does and when it needs to be replaced can help ease the process.

In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to choose a new circuit breaker panel. We’ll start by explaining the purpose and functionality of a circuit breaker panel, followed by detailed instructions on when and how to replace it. Additionally, we’ll outline the important criteria to consider when selecting a replacement panel.

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to confidently replace your circuit breaker panel, ensuring your home’s electrical system is in safe and working order.

What Is a Circuit Breaker Panel?

The main purpose of a circuit breaker panel is to connect utility company wires to your home’s internal electrical system. This panel is responsible for distributing electricity throughout your house and ensuring safety by automatically shutting off overloaded circuits.

How to Know When You Need New Circuit Breakers

Are you constantly dealing with circuit overloads, warm outlets, or flickering lights? It’s possible that your electrical system can’t handle the demand of modern households. Consider upgrading your panel and replacing your old fuse box with a circuit breaker panel. While homeowners are responsible for these issues, they might need assistance in determining when a service upgrade and new breaker panel are necessary. The age of the breakers is also important to know. The life expectancy of breakers is 25-30 years, which is also the same for your panel. It is important to know how old your panel is.

Preparing to Replace a Circuit Breaker Panel

preparing to replace a circuit breaker panel

Most homeowners should not attempt to replace a circuit breaker panel on their own due to the safety risks involved. Instead, it is recommended to hire a professional electrician for the job. The cost of panel replacement can range from $800 to $3,000, depending on various factors. It is important to be aware that electricians may encounter unexpected issues during the process. Before starting the work, both the electrician and the homeowner must make necessary preparations.

Finding the Right Location

The ideal location for a new circuit breaker panel is determined by factors such as proximity to heavy load areas, adherence to bathroom codes, accessibility in a spacious room, obstruction-free access, and sufficient lighting. While service panels are commonly located in garages, basements, or under stairways, they can also be placed in an open space in the main living area. It is essential to consult with an electrician to take into account technical considerations when making the final decision.

Determining the Right Size for a Service Panel

The size of your circuit breaker panel determines the number of electrical appliances that can run simultaneously in your home. In an all-electric home, a larger panel is needed, while a smaller one can suffice if there is a combination of electricity and gas. Remember that your panel’s usage is affected by the appliances you use. Residential main breaker panels are available in 100 amps, 200 amps, 225 amps, and 400 amps. To determine the right size breaker box for your home, follow these steps and round up your total amperage to the nearest panel size. Also, remember that if your circuit breaker is rated at 20 amps, it should only use 16 amps.

Circuit Breaker Panel Amperage

Circuit breaker panel amperage is the maximum amount of current that the panel can handle. Homes typically use 100–150-amp circuit breakers but converting to a 200-amp service can increase home value.

When selecting or replacing a circuit breaker panel, it is important to consider the types of circuit breaker switches you will need. Single-pole circuit breakers are generally used for lighter duty receptacles and lighting rated at 15-20 amps. Double-pole circuit breakers are used for HVAC units, water heaters, and major appliances.

There are 3 different types of circuit breakers: automatic reset, modified reset, and manual reset.

• Automatic reset circuit breakers continuously recycle when the circuit is overloaded. They deflect and separate the contacts when heated and will return to their original position once cooled.

• Modified reset circuit breakers remain in the off (or tripped) position as long as there is power to the circuit. Once the electricity stops flowing, the breaker will reset.

• Manual reset circuit breakers remain tripped until someone manually reactivates them.

Circuit Breaker Panel Brands

Today, there are many circuit breaker manufacturers including GE, Eaton, Leviton, Siemens, and Square D. Some have merged with or acquired older manufacturers that closed down. This is important to note because you might possess electrical panel equipment from one of these old companies. Typically, you can find the necessary parts by searching for the original manufacturer. However, it’s crucial to be aware that certain manufacturers like Federal Pacific and Zinsco produced faulty equipment. Therefore, it is important to have your electrician inspect for any remaining parts from these companies, to ensure they can be replaced before any potential harm occurs.

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Benefits of choosing a family-owned business like Atkins Electric Services, Inc.:

• Personalized service: Family-owned businesses are often more focused on providing personalized service to their customers.

• Commitment to quality: Family-owned businesses often take pride in their work and are committed to providing high-quality services to their customers.

• Support for the local community: Family-owned businesses are often involved in and supportive of the local community.

If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced electrician in the Rockford area, I highly recommend checking out Atkins Electric Services, Inc.