Main Breaker Panel 101


Old 06-29-08, 04:58 PM
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Main Breaker Panel 101

I have an elementary question.....

I have a Cutler Hammer panel with a 200a main breaker - with breakers going down on two sides. What does this really mean? How amp breakers can be installed in this panel?

Reason for the question is that if I add up all of the breakers, they exceed 200amps.
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Old 06-29-08, 05:09 PM
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200 amps is the max load that the panel can supply. You typically will not use that much. Each breaker is sized for the wire it feeds. So you will certainly have more than 200 amps worth of breakers. But there's never enough power drawn in the whole house to exceed the 200 amps.

What size service you need is based off of a load calculation.
Old 06-29-08, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the reply...makes sense
Old 06-29-08, 07:29 PM
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I believe the max no. of c/b ers any panel can have (if there's room and the panel allows it) is 42. 200A at 240v or 400A at 120v would be the max current draw before the main breaker tripped. Adding up the amps stamped on the individual c/b ers is meaningless. I believe this to be correct from what i've read.
Old 06-30-08, 08:28 PM
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Just to clarify (not that it changes the original answer), you have 200A per leg available. As stated, that could be 200A at 240v or 200A at 120v times two.

If your 120v loads were perfectly balanced, you could have 400A at 120v total, but if your loads were fully on one leg, you'd have only 200A at 120v. It's rare for loads to be perfectly balanced, but regardless, 200A is enough to satisfy most homes.

(Don't mean to be nit-picky, just adding a clarification)

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