Expert Electric Blog

What does my main electrical panel do and how does it work?

Circuit BreakerAn important component in your main electrical service panel is commonly known as the breaker. If you’re a homeowner, surely you have visited yours a few times over the years. But what exactly is it? And what does it do? Let’s go over the importance of the breaker and what its doing for your home.

What It Is
If you read our article on the home electrical system a few months back, you will know which step the service panel comes in receiving electricity for your home. The service panel is the gateway for all electricity in your home. After electricity comes through underground or overhead power lines, it goes to your electrical meter and then to the service panel. Electricity branches off from here and travels to the rest of your home. Within the panel are circuits for different areas for electricity to travel. Shutting down a circuit can cause power loss to a part of the home, maybe a room or two. But because the home is on many different circuits, power can remain active in the rest of the house.

How Does It Work
After electricity arrives at the service panel, it travels to a circuit. The circuit is a loop in which electricity travels from one end to the other. The breaker splits up to 100 amps or more into the circuits to distribute the power. Usually each circuit in a common residential home operates at 15 amps. The breaker is designed to “trip” if it receives an excess of electricity. If a power surge occurs on the outside of the home, for example a lightning strike, the service panel will stop the flow and turn off. If a surge happens on a circuit within your home, the breaker will also shut down that loop to protect the rest of the house.

Why Is It Important
Over time if work on a service panel is not completed correctly, the circuits could blow more frequently due to overloading. Parts in the panel can become outdated, loosen, or get burned out. If a service panel is not maintained and up to code, it also poses specific risks, making your home more susceptible to fires and electrical surges.

If you think your home needs a service panel inspection or a panel upgrade, Expert Electric has you covered. Safety is important and the main electrical service panel is one of the best ways to keep your home and yourself safe. Read more on electrical service and panel upgrades or contact your local Expert Electric for assistance and service.