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Can the total amps of all the breakers in an electrical panel be more than the amperage rating of the panel?
Monday, January 18, 2021
Yes, the total amps of all the breakers in a panel can exceed the amperage rating of the panel. There are a couple of reasons why this is allowed. First, every appliance and other load in a home is not turned on at the same time. And second, breakers for some appliances are rated at much more than the appliance uses when operating. A three-ton air conditioner, for example, will draw about 17 amps; but manufacturers specify a 40-amp breaker.
An electrician can do a calculation, based on the square footage of the house and a list of the installed appliances, to determine the correct size for your main service panel, and it's typical for the total amps of all the breakers to be more than double the rating of the panel and main breaker.
But there are a couple of other limitations on breakers installed in a panel that you can check at our blog posts What is the maximum number of circuit breakers allowed in an electric panel? and What does maximum sum of breaker ratings per stab mean in an electrical panel? Also see Can you add circuit breakers by different manufacturers to an electric panel if they fit? and What is the right size electric panel for a house?
Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about ELECTRIC PANELS:
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