How to Install a Circuit Breaker Panel

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Carpenter's level
Wood screws
Drill with screwdriver bit
Stud finder
Circular saw
Cable stripper
Screw driver

In remodeling your home you may find that your circuit breaker panel may not provide enough breakers to accommodate the number of electrical circuits you need in your home. When this happens, you may need to add an additional panel. To add this kind of panel, refer to the information below.

Step 1 – Selecting Your New Panel

Before deciding where you'll install your new circuit breaker panel, decide the size you'll need, such as 200 amp, 300 amp, or 400 amp. If your future circuit needs are for fewer than 40 circuits, the 200 amp panel will suit your needs. If you're not sure how many circuits you'll need, you will be better off with a panel that has a few more circuit breakers than you'll need, rather than one that has too few breakers. The additional cost you'll pay may be justified in allowing you to avoid having to install another panel when you run short of circuit breakers.

Step 2 – Selecting Your Panel Location

Use care in choosing where to install your panel location. Remember, you'll almost certainly need access to it when one of your circuit breakers switches off. Some municipal regulations have requirements you'll need to meet, so check with your local government for these regulations. You may be required to install your panel near your electric meter. If possible, place your panel where there will be less moisture or leaking water. Always install your electrical cable through the top of your panel where water will be less likely to enter through your panel opening where the cable enters.

Step 3 – Mounting Your Panel

Depending on the rear surface of the panel you buy, you can attach the panel or simply hang it. Attach your panel at eye level. This will not only make it much more convenient to install your cable wires to the panel terminals; but in the future when you need access to your panel, you'll be able to reach it more easily. If you plan to install your panel on a finished wall, you'll need to locate wall studs into which you can attach the panel. Line up screw holes in the back surface of your panel with wall studs. Make allowance for the knockouts through which you'll insert your cable. You may need to drill holes in the studs to run your cable through. Drive a screw through one of the screw hole, then into a stud to hold the panel in place. Level the panel and insert more screws to solidly secure the panel to the wall. If you prefer a flush mount, use a circular saw to cut out some of your wall studs , attach 2 inch x 4 inch top and bottom mounting plates, and attach your panel to the wall studs and mounting plates.

Step 4 - Installing Your Cable

Run your new cable through your wall studs, if the studs are exposed. If the wall is finished, attach the cable to the wall surface. Run the cable through the panel knockouts, strip off the insulation, and attach your electrical wire to the appropriate panel terminals.