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Understanding how your home's electrical panel works

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


January 30, 2020 - Karl Yeh

In this episode of Homebuyer's School, we walk through what a homeowner needs to know about their electrical panel and how it works.


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What we discussed:

Hi, everyone. I'm Karl. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School Video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts.

Now remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell so you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:                      

So today, I'm joined by Josh Brinkman with Brookfield Residential, and [00:00:30] we're going to talk about

Understanding your electrical panel

So Josh, what are some things we need to know or a homeowner needs to know about their electrical panel?

Josh Brinkman:            

So there actually is quite a bit to go over, but the first most important one: This breaker up at the top, that is your main shutoff.

If you turn that off, there's no power to the entire home. Going forward, there are breakers with white tabs on here.

They're called arc fault breakers. It's a safety device that if there ever is an overabundance of power running [00:01:00] through a circuit, it's going to simply trip the breaker and it will pop the breaker into the center position.

Now you cannot turn it right back on. You have to go all the way off, all the way back on. That resets the breaker and allows it to regain power.

Now that's the same for every single breaker. If any of them do trip to that center position, you need to reset it by shutting it off and then back on.

Karl Yeh:                      

So why does a breaker trip?

Josh Brinkman:            

So the breaker trips if there's too much power surging through that circuit.

If it's too much of a load, the breaker will just turn itself off for a safety [00:01:30] reason. If you have too much power going through, there is a chance of an electric shock.

This eliminates that.

How to tell which breaker is connected to which room

Karl Yeh:                      

Great. And obviously here, you can tell which breaker is connected to which room in the house, right?

Josh Brinkman:            


So to identify which breaker you're wanting to shut off, you're going to have to look at the label that's on the door and reference it to the numbers that are indented on the sides.

Now the numbers that are indented on the sides are very tough to see without a flashlight, so if you pull out your light [00:02:00] and you direct it underneath, you can see that there is all the numbers indented on the sides.

So say you're looking for your kitchen plugs. You're going to look on this side and you're going to see 8A. That's kitchen plugs.

So you're going to go to your breaker. Number eight. A is the top and B is the bottom. So you'll shut A off. Now back on. Perfect.

Karl Yeh:                       Do you have anything else to add, in terms of your electrical panel?

Additional spaces in your electrical panel

Josh Brinkman:            

So there are a couple spaces. You'll see on your [00:02:30] electrical panels that you've got either a blank cover or a couple tabs that are not punched out yet.

That allows you for extra space. If you are adding on basement outlets and you want to add different items for a different circuit, you can add that on there. But always use a professional.

And another tip is that if you ever do have an appliance that needs to be reset, you can simply reset the breaker.

Sometimes with the dishwashers, there's an error code that appears. To reset it and bring it back to factory settings, you can turn your breaker off and back on.

That will reset the motherboard on [00:03:00] your dishwasher.

Karl Yeh:                      

So if you want to know more about home maintenance, we've got a great playlist here for you. And I'll see you in our next video.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional homeowner or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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