How to Design an Electrical Panel Board

flipping a circuit breaker
  • 10 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500
What You'll Need
Multimeter (to measure voltage)
Electrical fuses or circuit breakers
House blueprints
Rubber gloves (for protection)
What You'll Need
Multimeter (to measure voltage)
Electrical fuses or circuit breakers
House blueprints
Rubber gloves (for protection)

When you are constructing a house or redesigning your home and have to design the electric panel board there are many things that you have to take into consideration. The function of the main electrical panel is to distribute electric power to the various appliances and fixtures in the house. This distribution is done with the aid of electrical circuits that emerge from the panel. As a general guideline, it’s best to keep these few materials handy before designing the panel.

Step 1 - Understand Components

Electric panels can be customized and configured to meet the power requirement of the household. This is why there are different dimensions. Before designing an electrical panel board, it is good to know its components. The main panel distributes electricity to the household through branch circuits. These then go to the switches, appliances, and other receptacles throughout your home.

Step 2 - Understand the Circuits

man looking into circuit panel

Two copper aluminum strips under the circuit breakers and the wiring panel are the power buses or hot buses that are connected to the incoming cable. Both the neutral and the wires for grounding are connected to their respective buses. These are present on either side of the power buses. The main breaker which controls all the power in the house is located on the upper part of the electric panel.

Step 3 - Consider Power Requirements

An electric panel in a house provides 100 or 150 or 200 amps. The individual circuits are then distributed from the main breaker by individual breakers which branches the power throughout the home. These individual breakers are designed depending upon the requirement of power. A light outlet circuit would need 15 amps and other appliances that need more power would usually be 60 to 100 amps.

Step 4 - Design the Panel

When you create the design for your electric panel the following details should be incorporated into it.

Location and dimension of the panel

Load description, amperage, and voltage required

Phase and NEMA type

Horsepower, cable size, and conduit size

Indication of the home run circuitry with a designated number

Number of wires a conduit carries

Type of insulation

Step 5 - Combine Location and Design

If the panel is to be placed in an environment that you think could be polluted, design it to keep contaminants out by applying positive air pressure. If it is to be placed in a dark area, design it to have an internal panel light mounted on it. On the other hand, design the panel to have a drain hose at the bottom of its enclosure if it is going to be installed in a place where water or other liquids may enter its enclosure.

While it is wise to take into account all the power needs of the house, it would be wiser to future proof your home when designing an electric panel. With advances being made in technology and electric power being the source that runs many appliances, you must design the panel to take care of the future power needs of your home.