How To Install 2 200 Amp Panels

How To Install 2 200 Amp Panels

How To Install 2 200 Amp Panels: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you planning to upgrade your electrical system for greater capacity and efficiency? Installing 2 200 amp panels is an excellent solution to meet the increasing demand for electricity in modern households. Whether you are building a new home or adding additional electrical circuits, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the installation process step by step. From gathering the necessary tools and materials to the final connections and inspections, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive in and learn how to install 2 200 amp panels.


I. Understanding the Basics

II. Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

III. Preparing for Installation

IV. Mounting the Panels

V. Wiring and Connecting the Panels

VI. Finalizing the Installation

VII. Safety Precautions

VIII. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I. Understanding the Basics

Before we jump into the installation process, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of electrical panels. A 200 amp panel refers to its capacity to handle 200 amps of electrical current. Generally, residential properties have a single 200 amp panel, but if your electricity needs exceed the capacity of a single panel, installing two 200 amp panels becomes necessary to meet the demand. Having two panels allows you to distribute the electrical load evenly and avoid overloading a single panel.

Each panel consists of a main breaker, which serves as the disconnect switch for the entire electrical system, and numerous circuit breakers that control individual circuits in your home. These circuit breakers protect the wiring from excessive current, preventing electrical fires and other hazards.

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II. Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before starting the installation process, gather the following tools and materials:

1. Two 200 amp panels with main breakers

2. Circuit breakers

3. Copper grounding wire

4. Junction box

5. Copper or aluminum service conductors

6. Cable connectors

7. Screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead)

8. Wire strippers

9. Pliers

10. Level

11. Hammer

12. Drill and drill bits

13. Safety gloves and goggles

III. Preparing for Installation

Before starting the physical installation, a few preparatory steps are necessary:

1. Determine the location for your panels: Choose an area near the electrical service entrance that is easily accessible and provides enough space for the panels. Ensure the area is well-ventilated and away from water sources.

2. Obtain the necessary permits: Contact your local building department to inquire about the required permits for electrical panel installation. Ensure compliance with all local codes and regulations to avoid any legal issues.

3. Notify the power company: Before making any changes to your electrical system, inform your local power company. They will disconnect power to your property temporarily to ensure a safe installation process.

4. Label the electrical circuits: Take the time to label each circuit in your home, indicating which outlets and appliances they correspond to. This will make it easier to distribute the circuits between the two panels later in the installation process.

IV. Mounting the Panels

Once you have prepared the necessary paperwork and completed the preliminary steps, it’s time to mount the panels:

1. Choose the correct height: Install the panels at a height that is convenient for accessing the breakers and visually appealing. The recommended height is around 4 to 5 feet from the ground.

2. Mark the mounting locations: Use a level and a pencil to mark the positions where the panels will be mounted. Ensure the marks are level and aligned properly.

3. Attach the mounting brackets: Depending on the panel’s design, install the mounting brackets at the marked locations. Use heavy-duty screws or anchor bolts to secure them securely to the wall.

4. Hang the panels on the brackets: Carefully lift each panel and place it onto the mounted brackets. Double-check their alignment and use a level to ensure they are perfectly horizontal.

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V. Wiring and Connecting the Panels

With the panels mounted, it’s time to wire and connect the electrical components:

1. Install the main breakers: Each panel should come with a main breaker. Connect the main breakers to the designated slots in the panels. Ensure they are securely fastened and aligned properly.

2. Connect the service conductors: Install the service conductors according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Typically, these conductors are copper or aluminum and connect the panels to the electrical meter or the power company’s service point. Consult a professional electrician if you are unsure about the proper connection method.

3. Connect the grounding wire: Attach the grounding wire to the ground bus bar in each panel. This wire helps protect against electrical faults and ensures safe operation of the electrical system. Consult local codes to determine the appropriate size and material for the grounding wire.

4. Install the circuit breakers: Now it’s time to install the circuit breakers for individual circuits. Refer to the labeled circuits from the preparatory step and distribute them between the two panels. Make sure each circuit breaker is the appropriate size for the connected circuit, preventing overheating and electrical hazards.

VI. Finalizing the Installation

With the main electrical components connected, it’s time to finalize the installation:

1. Check the connections: Double-check all the connections to ensure they are tight, secure, and properly aligned. Loose connections can result in electrical hazards and poor performance.

2. Close the panels: Install the panel covers securely, ensuring they are aligned with the panel edges. Use the provided screws to secure the covers in place.

3. Notify the power company: After completing the installation, contact your local power company to schedule the reconnection of power to your property. They will perform a final inspection to ensure the installation meets safety standards.

4. Conduct a thorough inspection: Before restoring power to your property, conduct a final inspection to check for any potential issues or loose connections. Pay attention to any signs of overheating, buzzing sounds, or unusual odors.

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VII. Safety Precautions

When dealing with electrical installations, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some essential safety precautions to follow:

– Turn off the main electrical supply before starting any work.

– Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves and safety goggles, to protect yourself from potential electrical hazards.

– Ensure the area around the electrical panels is clear and free from any water sources.

– Avoid working on electrical systems under unfavorable weather conditions, such as rain or high humidity.

– If you are unsure about any aspect of the installation process, consult a licensed electrician for assistance. Electrical work should only be performed by individuals with the necessary knowledge and expertise.

VIII. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Can I install the two panels myself, or do I need to hire a professional electrician?

A1. While it is possible to install the panels yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional electrician to ensure the installation is done correctly and follows safety regulations.

Q2. Can I connect both panels to a single electrical meter?

A2. Yes, you can connect both panels to a single electrical meter. However, consult with your local power company to ensure compliance with their regulations.

Q3. How do I determine the appropriate size for the circuit breakers?

A3. The size of the circuit breaker should match the rating of the connected circuit. Consult the electrical code or an electrician to determine the appropriate breaker size for your specific circuits.

Q4. Can I mount the panels outdoors?

A4. While it is possible to mount the panels outdoors, it is recommended to install them in a well-ventilated, dry, and easily accessible indoor location.

Q5. Do I need to upgrade my electrical service to install two 200 amp panels?

A5. Upgrading your electrical service might be necessary to accommodate the increased electrical load. Consult a licensed electrician to assess whether your current electrical service can handle the additional panels.

In conclusion, installing two 200 amp panels can significantly increase the electrical capacity and distribution in your home. However, it’s essential to understand the basics, gather the necessary tools and materials, and follow the step-by-step installation process. By ensuring compliance with safety regulations and consulting professionals when necessary, you can successfully upgrade your electrical system and meet the growing demands of modern households.

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