What is the Difference Between a Main Panel and Subpanel?

How Do Subpanels and Main Panels Differ?

You may not think about the power in your house, but there are networks of connections and circuits responsible for your home’s power. Most of us know that your electrical panel controls the power in your home. For instance, if you switch off a piece of your panel, the power is cut off to a circuit in your house. For example, if you flip a switch and your oven turn off, that means that the main circuit was connected to the outlet where you oven was plugged into. Aside from just organizing the outlets and power of your home, main breaker panels help control the amount of power coming into your home and distribute that power to each of your outlet subsidiaries.
Though we have discussed what the main panel does, the primary function of subpanels is still a mystery. In this blog, we will dive into what a subpanel is and why they are important. More importantly, by reading this blog, you will be able to determine the main differences between the main panels and subpanels.

What are Subpanels?

Electrical subpanels act as a waypoint between the main panel and other circuits connected to your household. The subpanels can be defined as a mini service panel that does many of the tasks of the main panel. In fact, the structures of both subpanels and main panels are very similar. The real difference between a subpanel and main panel is where the wires of system lead and the power of volts it provides. For instance, subpanels can give off 30 amp, which is about 240 volts of electricity. It is important to note that a circuit breaker subpanel does not provide additional electricity to the system. So, if you were thinking of adding a subpanel for more energy, it will not work. Subpanels don’t add energy but feed off the electrical current of your main service panel.

Why Would You Install a Subpanel?

So, as the subpanel does not add electricity to your home, why would you install one in the first place? Well, there are three main reasons why you would want to install a circuit breaker subpanel:

1. More space for circuits
2. Separate electricity uses
3. Detached panels for safety

1. More Space for Circuits

As you might already know, you use a lot of electricity in your house. Even things that you don’t think use electricity, do. For example, sure your oven and lights need electricity, but what about your water? Electricity is used to ensure that your home has hot water. So, now that we have confirmed you use more electricity than you think, you may wonder where this electricity is coming from? It is true that your electricity comes from the main breaker panel, which then distributes the power to your outlets for use. However, even the most powerful main breaker panel has its limits. Because there are only so many switches on a main electrical panel, subpanels can be useful to add extra room. Because the two panels are very similar and are connected to the same flow of energy, the subpanel is useful if you want to have more room for circuits in your house.

2. Separate Electricity Uses

If you use a lot of energy for different items and uses in your house, it can be advantageous to have subpanels to separate those circuits. For example, if you would like to separate the electrical circuits for your kitchen, your garage, or workshop, circuit breaker subpanels can be useful. But, why would this be useful? Well, it can be advantageous to organize your circuits by their correlating subpanels. If something was broken or needed to be turned off, it could be easier to find the right switch. For example, if your kitchen appliances weren’t working and needed to be turned off, you could easily find the right switch by separating its circuits to a specific subpanel.

3. Detached Panels for Safety

Subpanels can also be useful if you want a subpanel that is not directly located in your home. For instance, most main breaker panels are located in your house and control all the electricity in your home. Subpanels can be useful because that can be separated from the house, yet still associated with the current of energy flowing into your household.
Subpanels can be useful in cases of emergency, such as a house fire. For example, with house fires, firefighters have to enter your home during a fire to turn off the power to your home. As you can imagine, electricity and water are very dangerous together, so turning off the power to your home can ensure that no firefighters are accidentally electrocuted. By having a subpanel away from your house’s structure, but still on your property, you can have access to your home’s power.
The best part about this type of panel is the amount of power you are able to use stays the same. Because the panel is still connected to the current of electricity, there are no changes to the amount of power you use; all that changes is where the circuit breaker switches are located.

Nutech Industries: Purchase Subpanels Online

At Nutech Industries, we offer both subpanels and main circuit breaker panels (distribution panels). No matter if you need a subpanel for your home, or for your business, we can help! Ensure that your power is well supported with main breakers and subpanels. Contact us today if you have any questions about our business.

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