No Main Circuit Breaker

More than 6 throws to shut off power to a home.
Thirteen ‘throws’ will be required to shut off power to this home. The current maximum is six.

Older homes may not have a main breaker in the main panel. Back in the day, they were not required. So power from the electric utility was wired right into the main panel and onto the bus bars on which circuit breakers are installed. This is how a home I owned, that was built in 1963, was wired. The problem with these panels is that you can’t turn off the main breaker to do work inside the panel. This is a bit dangerous, and nerve racking, for the person with their fingers inside one of these panels. Today all main panels should have some way to shut the power off to the panel. If you’re in a more modern home (or the panel is newer) and the panel doesn’t have a main breaker in it, it was probably installed to incorrectly. Or, it may be a sub-panel with a shutoff in another panel on the property.

Also, today you can’t install a panel where you have to make more than 6 ‘throws’ to turn off all electricity. A ‘throw’ is usually 1 circuit breaker, but it can be two breakers if their switches are tied together so they turn on and off together. Having to make more than 6 throws to turn off all electricity is a bit of a safety concern and is often documented by home inspectors. However, this condition does not have to be corrected if this was allowed when the panel was installed. Although doing so is a good idea.

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