MAIN AND AUXILIARY PANELS
Electrical safety is something that many homeowners take fro granted. As long as the lights come on and the appliances work, most homeowners ignore electrical maintenance. The following list details some of the more important safety issues at the panel that need to be considered. Those items listed below which are highlighted by the inspector should be attended to as soon as possible.
AT THE PANEL
- Inadequate service size. Modern houses should be upgraded to at least a 100 amp main service.
- The main panel must be securely fastened to the wall. (Preferably on a non-combustible backing).
- Clear access to the panel must be provided at all times. Approximately three feet of clearance in front of the panel is recommended.
- Oversized fuses are being used. Ensure that all circuits are protected with the proper size fuse or breaker.
14 gauge copper wire requires a maximum 15 amp fuse or breaker.
12 gauge copper wire requires a maximum 20 amp fuse or breaker.
10 gauge copper wire requires a maximum 30 amp fuse or breaker.
8 gauge copper wire requires a maximum 40 amp fuse or breaker.
- Open cable "knock-outs" must be covered or protected. (Mice find the panel an attractive place to build their nests).
- The panel cover should be affixed always and securely fastened. The panel cover often secures the fuse blocks or the breakers onto the power busbars.
- Replace/repair missing or damaged panel cover.
- Do not use pointed screws (sheet metal or wood) to fasten the panel cover. They may penetrate the insulation on a live wire and cause a short circuit.
- Screw in fuses must be checked to ensure they are secure. Circuit breakers must be tripped every six months to remove oxidization. cartridge fuse blocks in the distribution panel should be remove and re-installed. This should also be done semi-annually.
- Double-tapping of circuit wiring to fuse/circuit breakers is noted. Glass plug fuses/circuit breaker connections are designed for only one wire.
Do not remove the panel cover unless you are a licensed electrician or have been trained to do so. Removing the panel cover can expose you to a potential hazard of electrical shock. If you have any doubts about the protection branch of circuits in your panel, consult a qualified, licenses electrical contractor.