Electric Panels and How to Turn Off the Power.

electric panel

It seems that whenever I talk to a group of people, I find someone who does not know how to turn of the electric panel to their house.  This is something that everyone should know how to do, even your older children.  In case of earthquake, storm damage, fire or even an accidental electrocution you may have to turn the power off.

Most homes today have circuit breakers which are a simple switch, it is just a matter of knowing where they are and which one to turn off.  Some of your older homes may still have screw type fuses, how ever they are fast disappearing.

The first thing is to learn where the electric panel is located and how to open the door.  Many of the doors are hard to open if you don’t know how.  They often have to be lifted up before they can be opened.  You need to actually go outside and do it a few times so that it becomes automatic.  Me, I am a bit paranoid so I lock my electric panel with a padlock.  If you do this make sure that you always know exactly where a key is located.

electric panel
Know how to unlock the door to your panel

The electric panel consists of a main breaker and various smaller breakers on branch circuits that cover areas of your home.  For example you may have one for the bedrooms and a second for the living room.  Each of these breakers should be marked to show what area it covers.  If you turn of the main breaker to your home, you will shut off all electric power.  Individual breakers will only shut off power to the designated areas.

If you are not confident in your ability to turn off the power, have someone show you.  If you are using a generator and connect it in any manner to the power system in your home, be sure that the main breaker is in the off position, so that power is not feeding back into the main line.  If power feeds back onto the main line it can electrocute someone working on the power lines.

electric panel
Here you can see the main breaker and it is in the on position. The big one at the top
electric panel
here you can see the whole panel. The main breaker is at the top and you can see the other breakers and how they should be marked. Some panels have the main breaker in different locations.


electric panel
Here you can see an old fashioned fuse panel. These fuses unscrew. If you have one of these panels have someone show you how to turn it off. Never let anyone talk you into putting a penny under one of these fuses. This can cause fires.










So as with anything else you need to do this occasionally so that you remember how in an emergency.


1 thought on “Electric Panels and How to Turn Off the Power.”

  1. Some of these panels are in the basement or perhaps a closet. The closet ones will often have a plywood/drywall cover attached with screws, but not often. Manufactured and modular homes are a horse of a different color, so one should check with the home manufacturer to get correct information on what to do.

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