Finding My Main Circuit Breaker

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My fuse box is in the basement of my home. I have no main switch in the box or outside by the meter. The hole where the main switch should be is empty. Any advice as to where to look or why there would be no main?

Does your house have fuses or circuit breakers? If it's a fuse panel, then there are usually two pull-out cartridge fuse holders at the top of the box. One is traditionally marked RANGE and the other is marked MAIN. It's possible that someone wired the house on the range side. With these panels, it's sometimes necessary to remove both cartridge fuse holders to disconnect power from the house.

If you have breakers, it's possible that you might have an older split-bus style panel. This panel would have a group of up to six breakers near the top half, and several more towards the bottom half. Instead of a main, you would have to shut off the six breakers at the top to completely disconnect power. If these two examples don't describe your panel, feel free to e-mail a photo and we can look at it. In either case, I would recommend a panel upgrade to one that has a main disconnect.

My electrician said I should replace my Challenger model circuit breaker panel with something better and safer because of its inferior quality. Is that true and is there any safety compromise if I keep this one?

I wouldn't necessarily say that Challenger-style breakers and panels are inferior. They are older, but usually are still serviceable.
However, if your panel has been in an environment that could render it questionable (i.e. a damp basement), then that may be a different story.

The right side of my breaker box stopped working. As a result, my hot water heater and stove are out, although the stove clock works. Power co. says I need a new meter socket. What should I do?

If you've lost part of your electric service, many times the problem is due to a bad main breaker or a problem on the electrical service entrance on the outside of your home. You should probably have a licensed electrician take a look at it to be sure.


Wurtsboro Electric Service, Inc.

Licensed electricians serving Orange county, Sullivan county, and Ulster county in New York
(845) 888-8000 

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