Updating fuses to breakers. Split Bus Electrical Panels—No Main Breaker..



Updating fuses to breakers

Updating fuses to breakers

My goal is to keep this post simple enough that most readers can understand what I am talking about. Real estate agents and home owners need to understand the basic principles so that when the inspector calls for replacement of what appears to be a perfectly good panel, they can understand why. Being able to shut off all of the power is usually achieved by a Main Disconnect Breaker in the electrical service panel—and should be labeled as such.

I am not going to talk about fuses in this post. Where it gets a little confusing is when that main disconnect breaker is in a different location from the panel in the home—like outside the home at the electric meter as in mobile homes, townhouses, condos and other instances. In these instances the panel in the home is not the electrical service equipment but is instead called a sub-panel.

Of course it does no harm to have one and one is often installed for convenience. The following picture is of a pretty close to correctly wired sub-panel. As a Seattle Home Inspector I love finding panels this nicely wired. This type of panel will not usually have a main disconnect—it will be located at the electrical service equipment—-typically where the meters are located. Nicely Wired Sub-Panel There is another type of panel that looks, at first glance, like it might be missing a main breaker.

This type of panel is configured such that it takes a maximum of 6 throws to shut all the power off. The following picture is of a typical split bus panel with its dead-front cover in place. Split Bus Electrical Panel This means that when all those top breakers are turned off—all power to the breakers in the panel will be off—including the lower breakers.

The next picture is of a split bus panel with the cover off—notice how much it looks like the sub-panel picture above well except for neatness? Split Bus Electrical Service Panel What is different about the panels can be visualized by by the following picture with descriptive overlays.

Split Bus Electrical Service Panel The blue dotted lines are where the power coming into the panel attach to the bus bars. Note that the top six double pole breaker spaces are outlined with blue dotted lines and are numbered 1 through 6. Note how the wires from breaker 2 travel down behind the six spaces and attach trust me to the bars for the bottom breakers highlighted in red.

Here is another panel with only three double pole breakers in the top six spaces but one of them has blue wires that run to the bus bars for the lower circuits. Split Bus Electrical Service Panel In this case it only takes three throws to shut off all the power in the panel—still well under the 6 throw rule.

Most panel manufacturers made such panels—-and in many different versions. Wires will run from that one breaker and be connected directly to the bus bars for the other section of breakers. Bus bars are the energized metal bars that the circuit breakers connect to.

These panels are often crowded and no longer have ample space to accommodate modern wiring requirements. Most of the time I find myself recommending to my buyers that they upgrade these panels. Often the service size itself is adequate for the home—the panel simply lacks the space to add new circuits. Replacing just the panel is almost always going to be cheaper than a whole new service to the home. Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right.

I promise NO spamming of your email Filed Under: Electrical , Featured , Type Tagged With: I enjoy doing what I can to offer my opinion or help. If you find the information was useful and care to send a monetary donation of appreciation, I would really appreciate it.

I will leave the amount up to you, and of course not donating will always be OK.

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Upgrading hidden fuses in my RV.



Updating fuses to breakers

My goal is to keep this post simple enough that most readers can understand what I am talking about. Real estate agents and home owners need to understand the basic principles so that when the inspector calls for replacement of what appears to be a perfectly good panel, they can understand why. Being able to shut off all of the power is usually achieved by a Main Disconnect Breaker in the electrical service panel—and should be labeled as such.

I am not going to talk about fuses in this post. Where it gets a little confusing is when that main disconnect breaker is in a different location from the panel in the home—like outside the home at the electric meter as in mobile homes, townhouses, condos and other instances. In these instances the panel in the home is not the electrical service equipment but is instead called a sub-panel.

Of course it does no harm to have one and one is often installed for convenience. The following picture is of a pretty close to correctly wired sub-panel. As a Seattle Home Inspector I love finding panels this nicely wired. This type of panel will not usually have a main disconnect—it will be located at the electrical service equipment—-typically where the meters are located.

Nicely Wired Sub-Panel There is another type of panel that looks, at first glance, like it might be missing a main breaker. This type of panel is configured such that it takes a maximum of 6 throws to shut all the power off. The following picture is of a typical split bus panel with its dead-front cover in place.

Split Bus Electrical Panel This means that when all those top breakers are turned off—all power to the breakers in the panel will be off—including the lower breakers. The next picture is of a split bus panel with the cover off—notice how much it looks like the sub-panel picture above well except for neatness? Split Bus Electrical Service Panel What is different about the panels can be visualized by by the following picture with descriptive overlays.

Split Bus Electrical Service Panel The blue dotted lines are where the power coming into the panel attach to the bus bars. Note that the top six double pole breaker spaces are outlined with blue dotted lines and are numbered 1 through 6. Note how the wires from breaker 2 travel down behind the six spaces and attach trust me to the bars for the bottom breakers highlighted in red.

Here is another panel with only three double pole breakers in the top six spaces but one of them has blue wires that run to the bus bars for the lower circuits. Split Bus Electrical Service Panel In this case it only takes three throws to shut off all the power in the panel—still well under the 6 throw rule.

Most panel manufacturers made such panels—-and in many different versions. Wires will run from that one breaker and be connected directly to the bus bars for the other section of breakers. Bus bars are the energized metal bars that the circuit breakers connect to. These panels are often crowded and no longer have ample space to accommodate modern wiring requirements. Most of the time I find myself recommending to my buyers that they upgrade these panels. Often the service size itself is adequate for the home—the panel simply lacks the space to add new circuits.

Replacing just the panel is almost always going to be cheaper than a whole new service to the home. Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email Filed Under: Electrical , Featured , Type Tagged With: I enjoy doing what I can to offer my opinion or help.

If you find the information was useful and care to send a monetary donation of appreciation, I would really appreciate it. I will leave the amount up to you, and of course not donating will always be OK.

Updating fuses to breakers

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