Electrical Service and Circuit Panel

YOUR SERVICE. Your electric service probably starts on the street where the CFE poles and electric lines are located. There is a “drop” to your house, usually two cables to a masthead then down the pipe/wall to your meter (mechanical ones spin, newer digital with readout only). From the meter it usually goes through the wall into your garage, house, entry or some other space where it often stops at a “main breaker” which tells you how much service you have (usually but not always). Larger modern houses with hot tubs, electric heaters, electric clothes dryers, cooktops etc need a 200 amp service but a lot of homes in San Miguel have 50/60 amp to perhaps 100 amp sercvice.

YOUR PANEL. First, know where your panel is so if you have a power outage you can check and make sure you didn’t just trip a breaker. 50/60 amp services often have 8 circuits like the one shown. 100 amp service often have 16 circuits. Outlets/receptacles should be 20 amp with 12 gauge copper wire, lights 15 amp with 14 gauge copper and equipment such as a 220V oven should have larger circuit breakers sized to protect the wire and appliance they serve.

In another post I will give you a few simple trouble shooting techniques to help when there’s a problem. “Hey, what’s that smaller boxy thing to the left of the panel…..?” More on surge protectors in another post.