Electrical panel boxes, also known as distribution boards or breaker boxes, are central components of your electrical system. They house circuit breakers or fuses that control and distribute electricity to different parts of your home or building. There are several types of electrical panel box designed to meet various needs and requirements. Here’s an overview of different types:
1. Main Service Panels: Main service panels, also called main breaker panels, are the primary distribution points for electricity entering your property from the utility lines. They typically include a main circuit breaker that controls the entire electrical supply to the building. Main service panels are usually located in a readily accessible location, such as a utility room or basement.
2. Subpanels: Subpanels, also known as subdistribution panels, are secondary panels connected to the main service panel. They are used to extend the capacity of the electrical system and accommodate additional circuits or loads. Subpanels are commonly used in home renovations, additions, or areas with high electrical demands.
3. Fuse Boxes: Fuse boxes were once the standard for electrical distribution. They contain fuses that protect circuits by melting and breaking the circuit when there’s an overload or short circuit. While fuse boxes are less common nowadays due to the prevalence of circuit breakers, some older homes might still have them.
4. Circuit Breaker Panels: Circuit breaker panels have replaced fuse boxes as the standard for modern electrical distribution. They use circuit breakers to control the flow of electricity. When a circuit experiences an overload or short circuit, the circuit breaker trips, cutting off the electrical flow to prevent damage.
5. Distribution Boards: Distribution boards are panels that distribute power from the main panel to various subpanels or branch circuits. They are commonly found in commercial and industrial settings where complex electrical systems require organized distribution.
6. GFCI and AFCI Breaker Panels: Certain panel boxes are designed to incorporate specific types of circuit breakers. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker panels include GFCI circuit breakers that provide protection against ground faults and electrical shocks. Similarly, Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) breaker panels include AFCI circuit breakers that protect against arc faults and potential fire hazards.
7. Three-Phase Panels: In industrial and commercial settings, three-phase electrical systems are common due to their efficiency and power distribution capabilities. Three-phase panels accommodate three-phase power, which is often required for heavy machinery, large equipment, and commercial operations.
8. Meter Combos: Meter combo panels combine the main service panel with the electric utility meter. They serve as a space-saving solution and are commonly used in residential settings.
When considering which type of electrical panel box to use, it’s essential to assess your specific needs, such as the size of your property, electrical demands, and any future expansion plans. Always ensure that the installation and any modifications to electrical panel boxes are performed by licensed professionals in compliance with local electrical codes and regulations. Consulting an electrician is recommended to determine the most suitable type of panel box for your property.