main lugs vs main breaker?


Old 06-23-04, 08:31 AM
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main lugs vs main breaker?

I'm going to put in a new breaker box to accomodate the additional circuits for kitchen addition I'm doing. I have 100 Amp service now, and I'll probably upgrade to 125 or 150 just to be safe. I'm not sure yet whether I'll have to have a new line from the meter into the house or not. In the home center I see two types of boxes, labeled "main lugs" vs. "main breaker." What is the difference? Any other advice you'd give me about this job?


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Old 06-23-04, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 80
If you are replacing your existing panel, you will need a "main breaker" panel.

A "main lugs" panel does not have the large breaker that disconnects everything inside, and must be protected either by an external breaker, or, if it's used as a sub-panel, by a breaker in the main panel.

Upgrading the size of your panel is not as simple as switching the panel itself. If you have not already, you will need to contact your utility, they may have to upgrade the meter, you may have to upgrade the meter socket and the wires to the main panel also.

If you simply need more breaker slots, you have a couple of other options. #1, use half-height breakers to replace the full-sized ones (if allowed in your particular panel), or add a sub-panel (whice is not difficult, but requires some specific wiring that is different from a main panel).

If you are going to upgrade, go right to 200A. The cost difference will be minimal.

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