Working Safely in a Subpanel
Brian Walo, licensed electrician You really shouldn’t be working in a live panel no matter what. It takes two seconds to turn off the main breaker. However, that doesn’t give you complete freedom to do whatever you want in here; there are still some dangerous parts. In a main panel, where you’ve got a main circuit breaker and some large wires coming in, even if you shut off the breaker, these two poles are still going to be carrying electricity. If this were on, all of these exposed stabs for the bus bar are all going to be carrying electricity. So you’re not going to want to touch any of that. The neutral is also a potential shock point if the power is on. Try to avoid touching any of the incoming service lines. Now, once this is off, all of these bus bars have been de-energized. If you happen to strike one of these, you’ll actually be OK, provided that’s off. Same goes for the terminals on the breakers themselves; they’re like light switches. When one is on, the connection is hot. When you turn it off, it’s dead.
How to Install a Subpanel: Fitting and Fastening the Box
Brian Walo, licensed electrician I’m installing a subpanel for a garage shop. The first thing I do is mark out where it’s going to be mounted in the wall. I generally use my own eye level with the main breaker as a good rule of thumb; I’m about 6 foot tall. Every jurisdiction varies a little bit depending on what electrical code’s being enforced, so obviously the best source of information is going to be your local jurisdiction. I use just a regular old Sharpie and…