Simple Question About Loading Panels


Old 09-01-05, 08:53 AM
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Simple Question About Loading Panels

I have a very basic question about loading up panels. For a 40-slot 200A service panel, can the total amperage of all the circuit breakers in the panel total more than 200A? If so, is there a maximum it can total? I am not trying to push a panel to the limits, I just want to know.


Old 09-01-05, 09:11 AM
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The total of all the circuit breakers can add up to any value whatsoever. There is no relationship between the total of all the breakers and the maximum panel amperage (either designed maximum or main breaker size, which may be smaller).

Most circuits feeding household loads do not approach the circuit breaker limit.

All that is important is that the load on any one circuit not exceed the limit for that circuit, and that the entire load on the panel at any one time not exceed the panel limit. The individual circuit breakers protect the circuit they feed, and the panel breaker protects the panel.
Old 09-01-05, 09:12 AM
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Yes, in fact it can be MUCH more than 200A.

The individual breaker limits the amperage a given circuit can draw at a given time. Most circuits are WAY under this limit most of the time. The main simply limits the total amperage drawn at a given time.

The only way to determine whether you are overloading a 200A panel is to do a demand load calculation. That will tell you the appropriate service size for a home. The actual number of circuits installed doesn't change that calculation.

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