You’ve probably heard the stories of DIYers who got an electric shock when they were installing a new electrical panel or, even worse, had their home catch fire due to faulty wiring. Installing an electrical panel is not something that should be done by a beginner, and definitely not if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can always contact Zoom Electricians, but here are some tips for making sure your electrical panel installation goes smoothly:
- Always shut off the main line before starting the installation.
You should always shut off the main line before starting. To do this, turn off the main breaker in your electrical panel. If you don’t know where this is, grab an electrician.
You must also make sure no one else has power running through their home while you’re working on yours: turn off all of your breakers or fuses (or circuit breakers) and have a backup power source like a generator ready in case of emergency.
- Use GFCI outlets.
GFCI outlets (ground-fault circuit interrupters) protect against electric shock by cutting power if there’s a problem with the wiring. You can install them yourself in just about any room of your house or apartment, including kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
The first step is to shut off the main breaker for each room where you’ll be installing a GFCI outlet.
Then, use a voltage tester to find out which wires are hot and neutral in that area. Connect bare copper wire from one side of each outlet’s hot terminal screw to its black wire; connect bare copper wire from one side of each outlet’s ground screw to its white wire; connect the bare copper wire from one side of each outlet’s grounding terminal screw (if present) to its green or bare copper ground pigtail lead attached at panel box entrance hole; then attach all three ground leads together using an 8-inch pigtail.
- Replace aluminum wires.
You’ll need to replace any aluminum wires with copper. Aluminum conducts electricity, but it can’t handle the current required for outdoor lighting. It also doesn’t have the thermal capacity to handle the heat generated by those lights or their voltage requirements.
You’ll want to use the solid-core copper wire that’s rated for outdoor use where there’s a possibility of contact with water (Type AC or MC). The only exception is if you’ve got a special type of aluminum wire made specifically for outdoor use—but in general, when in doubt, just go with copper.
- Wear protective gear when working with electricity.
You will want to wear rubber-soled shoes to keep the electrical current from traveling through your body. You should also wear protective goggles and a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and leather work gloves.
- Do not use a damaged electrical panel.
When you are checking an electrical panel, you want to make sure that it is in good condition. A damaged electrical panel can be dangerous and should not be used. There are several things that you can do to check if your electrical panel is in good condition:
- Check all of the wires for signs of wear or damage. If a wire has become frayed or broken, it needs to be cut off and replaced with a new one before continuing with the installation.
- Check that all breakers have been properly connected and tightened securely into place (don’t use any tools). If a breaker is loose or wobbly when moved by hand around inside of its slot, then it’s probably time for replacement as well—especially if there are other signs of abuse or neglect!
- Inspect all contacts inside the breaker box before starting work on installing new equipment inside; these need frequent cleaning in order to stay functional properly over time.
- Hire a licensed and professional electrician for the job rather than doing it yourself.
Hiring a professional electrician to install your electrical panel, rather than doing it yourself, is the safest option. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune—a good electrician can give you an estimate of their services and let you know if they’re in-network with your insurance company before they even arrive on site.
To find one who can help with your electrical panel installation, ask friends for referrals or check online reviews. Check their credentials by looking for certification from organizations. You should also look for references from past clients and ask about any professional affiliations they may have.
Lastly, take note of whether or not the electrician carries liability insurance and has enough experience working in this type of project before hiring them!
Electrical Panel Installation: Do’s And Don’ts
Residential electrical panel installation is a job that’s best left to the professionals. If you’re doing your own electrical work, it’s important to know what not to do so that you don’t risk causing fire or electrocution hazards in your home. Skilled electricians are trained to install wiring safely and correctly, but even they can make mistakes if they don’t follow proper protocol and perform an inspection of their work before turning on the electricity.
- DO buy an appropriate fuse box or circuit breaker.
The size of the fuse box depends on the size of the circuit, and the size of your breaker depends on the number of circuits in your home.
Make sure that your electrical panel is grounded properly, either through a grounding rod or through a GFCI outlet (ground fault circuit interrupter).
- DON’T fit a fuse box if it’s not the right size.
When installing a fuse box, make sure it’s the correct size. If the fuse box is too small, it can cause damage to your electrical system. Fuse boxes are available in various sizes and amp ratings; you need to know the amp rating of your electrical system before buying one.
For example, if you have a 20-amp breaker and only have 15 amps worth of circuitry in your home (lights, outlets, etc.), then you’ll need to purchase a 20-amp breaker with 10 additional slots/sockets for future use (or else risk overloading something).
- DO choose the right circuit breakers.
If you are installing a new electrical panel, make sure to choose the right circuit breakers. The first step is to determine how much load you will be using on each circuit and then choose a breaker that is rated for that amount of load. It’s also important not to use undersized breakers or wires. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that all residential circuits are protected by at least 15 amps per 100 square feet of living space.
For example, if you have 800 square feet of living space in your home and want to run three LED track lights on one single circuit, this would require 15 amps with 240 volts at 120 volts (for the track lights). This means you would need a 20 amp breaker installed in your electrical panel with a 14/2 gauge cable running throughout the house.
- DON’T forget to add extra circuits.
Don’t forget to add extra circuits. You should always plan for at least one more circuit than you think you’ll need since it’s easier to install an extra circuit than it is to remove a circuit that has been installed incorrectly.
If you’re installing a new receptacle in your home, don’t forget about the accompanying light fixture. Two circuits are required: one for the receptacle and one for its corresponding light fixture.
Each appliance should be wired separately as well; only include appliances on one circuit if they share similar power requirements or are located close together (such as under-the-counter kitchen appliances).
- DO include GFCI-protected receptacles in your building plans.
GFCI protection is required for all new construction, but it’s also a good idea to include these GFCI-protected receptacles in your building plans.
GFCI protection is required for all bathrooms, kitchens, and garages.
It’s recommended that GFCI protection be included in any indoor swimming pool, hot tub, or spa.
- DON’T ignore the importance of a faultless connection between neutral and ground wires.
Don’t ignore the importance of a faultless connection between neutral and ground wires. If the neutral wire is not properly connected to the ground, the circuit will not be grounded. This can cause a fire, and it is, therefore, important to make sure that the neutral wire is properly connected to the ground.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand why it is important to choose an appropriate electrical panel for your home. As you can see, there are many things to consider when installing a panel, and we have tried to cover all bases here.
If you need some help with your electrical panel installation, we at Zoom Electricians are here to help you. Just give us a call, and we’ll handle any electrical panel installation you need.