In our modern world, we expect the lights to turn on the second we flip the switch. We expect our smartphone chargers to power up our devices and refrigerators to keep our food cool. But how electricity is supplied to the home is something most homeowners don’t give much thought to.
What is the Electrical Panel?
The electrical panel is made up of circuit breakers, which are automatic devices that stop the flow of electricity as a safety measure. A home typically has one main panel to serve the entire house, but may also have a subpanel to serve a specific area, such as a large kitchen or a detached garage. The main panel is supplied directly by the utility lines, but the subpanel is supplied by the home’s main panel.
Each circuit breaker can be set to an ON or OFF position, either manually or automatically due to an overload or other problem with the circuit. Circuit breakers should be labeled with stickers or with hand-written notes on a sheet attached to the inside of the panel door.
How to Read Your Electrical Panel
If the switches aren’t labeled, then homeowners can use the guess and check method to identify each circuit breaker.
Begin by switching off all of the circuits except for one. Next, walk through the house to check which outlets work and which don’t. You can use a small lamp or another electronic device to test the outlets.
Once you’ve determined which room or rooms are affected by the circuit, label the switch in the electrical panel. Repeat this process until each switch is labeled.
How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker
To reset a tripped circuit breaker, open the electrical panel and find the switch that isn’t lined up with the rest of them. Switch the breaker to the OFF position and wait a moment. Then, switch it back to the ON position. If the breaker continues to trip, then you may simply need to relocate appliances or devices. If this fails to keep power stable, then you’ll need to schedule a call with a licensed electrician to identify the root cause of the problem.