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Once you have powered up your home, you would like to know the total amperage that is in the breaker panel. Knowing this information will be crucial in guiding you on how to choose the right devices for your home. It will also help you to put the right safety measures.
In this guide, we are going to analyze how to find out the total amps in your breaker panel.
- 1 Formula
- 2 Where to Find Power and Voltage
- 3 What you will need
- 4 Steps for Calculating Total Amps in Breaker Panel
- 5 How do I know if my breaker panel is overloaded?
- 6 Buy quality circuit breakers
The easiest way to find out the total amperage is by using the Power formula which is I=P/V. This means that the total amperage is equal to the power divided by the voltage. In your breaker panel, you can easily find out the power and voltage.
To know if you are using the proper amount of amperage for your home, then you need to know that amperage is calculated in a formula that is I=E/R. This means that the amperage is equal to voltage divided by resistance. The resistance can be found in a device’s specification or it can be found on the device itself.
Where to Find Power and Voltage
In knowing how much power you are consuming, you need to look at your electricity bill. You will see how much energy was consumed by your home during that particular billing period. If this figure is not included in your bill, then there should be a meter where you will find this information. This meter will also show how many volts are being used in your home at any given time.
What you will need
Here are the tools you will need for calculating the total amps for a breaker panel.
-Calculator: Since you will be doing some calculations, you will need a digital calculator.
-Flashlight: If you know the basics of the electrical wiring and installation, not all the circuit breakers are installed in well-lit areas. You will need a flashlight to check the amps of the individual circuit breakers.
-Pen and notebook: You will need to record some values, so a pen and notebook will come in handy in doing this job.
Steps for Calculating Total Amps in Breaker Panel
Now, here are the steps that you should follow in calculating the total amps in a circuit breaker panel.
Step 1: Locate the breaker panel and open its cover
The circuit breaker panel can be found in the basement or the attic. The location of the breaker panel will depend on the home’s construction. The circuit breaker panel is usually located in a well-lit area where it can be easily seen. In case you are having trouble locating it, check the home’s blueprints and electrical plans.
Step 2: Briefly analyze the circuit breakers in the panel
Now that you have located and opened up the cover of the breaker panel, you will need to look at each circuit breaker and determine its amp rating. For this job, you will need a flashlight as some of them might not be located near a light source. If you are unsure about how to identify an amp rating of a particular circuit breaker, consult with your home electrician or a professional electrician for assistance. You may also use any electrical wiring-related guide for helping you in doing this job effectively.
Step 3: Determine the amp rating of every circuit breaker
Now that you have seen all the circuit breakers in the breaker panel, it is time to find out the amp value of the individual breakers. It doesn’t matter the type of the breaker, whether it is a single-pole or double-pole circuit breaker. Keep in mind that for the multiple-pole breakers, you should use the ampacity of each leg. Let’s say you have a double-pole breaker rated 20 amp, each individual leg should have 10 amps.
Note down the amp rating of each circuit breaker.
Step 4: Add up all of them to find out the load limit
Now that you have the amp rating of each circuit breaker, add them up to get a total load of your circuit panel. It is a good idea to keep a small calculator handy. For example, if you have five single-pole breakers rated 10 amp each, the total load will be 50 amp.
We also have to consider the load limit of the breaker panel which is always 80%. So, we will Calculate 80% of the 50 amps.
So, the amps for your breaker panel will be 40 amps.
Step 5: Get the amperage of the electric panel
At this point, we know the amps of the breaker panel. What next? We need to figure out the amperage of the electric panel.
Now, we can take a look at the data plate. The amperage of the electric panel is typically listed near the circuit breaker listing. For example, if it says 15 amps, you will have 15-amp breaker panel. If it says 20 amps, you will have a 20-amp breaker panel.
How do I know if my breaker panel is overloaded?
Image source Electronics Hub
An overloaded electric panel is one that has more amperes than it could handle. The surest way of telling that your breaker panel is overloaded is the constant tripping of the circuit breakers.
If the breakers keep tripping more frequently than expected, that could be a sign of some serious issues. One of them being the panel’s capacity is not enough to handle its load.
Buy quality circuit breakers
One way of keeping your breaker panel and even the building safe is by using high-quality circuit breakers.
In other words, you want to make sure that your circuit breakers are UL listed. This means that they have been tested and approved by Underwriter Laboratories.
Some of the things to consider while purchasing circuit breakers are:
Make sure that the breaker is rated for the panel amperage. For example, if you have 15-amp breaker panel, make sure that you buy a 15-amp breaker. Make sure that it has a trip current rating of at least 40 amps. This means it can handle at least 40 amps of electrical load before tripping open and resetting itself automatically.
At ICRFQ, we can help you buy quality circuit breakers in China. Once you have them, you will be able to calculate the total amps in the breaker panel.
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