A residential load center is composed of a series of center panels or breaker boxes, each of which carries around 200 amps. You can learn how to wire your own residential load center with these simple steps. Be sure to take all necessary safety measures to protect yourself from accidents while performing this procedure. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to wire a residential load center.
Step 1 - Turn Off the Power
The first thing you will need to do is switch off the main power source of your home. Locate the main circuit breaker of your house and turn off all of the circuit breakers to make sure that there is no power running in your house while you are installing the load center. For added security, wear a pair of insulated gloves and see to it that the surface that you are standing on is not wet.
Step 2 - Connect Cables to Top of Box
Connect the power cables used for incoming power to the top of the box if they are not yet connected to this location. Using a screwdriver, make sure to tighten the power cable clamp so that they are securely in place.
Step 3 - Strip Wires
Strip the sheath of the cable wires down to about one inch. Use your utility knife to strip the sheath off the wire. Strip the wire such that you can see the bare metal inside the wire.
Step 4 - Place Striped Wires in Terminal Blocks
Place the wires striped with black and red into the terminal blocks. The blocks can be located on the two main bus bars found at the top middle portion of your panel on top of each of the bus bars. Using a torque wrench, tighten the lugs found on the blocks. Consult your local code to determine how many foot pounds of torque to use. Usually, you should use around 200 to 250 footpounds for this.
Step 5 - Place White Striped Wire in Terminal Block
Take the white-striped wire inside the terminal block found on the neutral bur bar. This can be found to the side of the main bus bars. Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug again. Make sure the lug is fully secure.
Step 6 - Place Ground Wire on Neutral Bus Bar
Place the ground wire inside a block located on the neutral bus bar. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screw. Consult your local code again to see if you will need to install a ground bus bar. If so, you will need to purchase a separate ground bus bar and install it separately as well. If you look at the unit, you might see a space allocated for this. The ground bus bar panel should be placed in this area. Simply screw it in place before utilizing it.
Step 7 - Turn On Power
You can now turn the power back on from your house’s main power source.