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Are split-bus electrical panels illegal?
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
A split-bus panel requires shutting off up to six breakers to disconnect all the circuits served by the panel. There is no single main breaker. Although production of split-bus panels ended in the mid-1980s, the allowance for a “maximum six switch-throws" rule stayed in the National Electrical Code until it was removed in the 2020 edition (NEC 230.71). So any new electrical installations require a single main breaker per panel to shut off all power, but an existing split-bus panel from years ago is not illegal.
Even though allowed to remain, many split-bus panels have safety issues that make it worthwhile to consider replacement, and several manufacturer’s panels have been deemed unsafe and not insurable, such as Zinsco and Federal Pacific. See our article What are common problems with split-bus electrical panels? for details. Also go to What is a split-bus electrical panel? for an overview of how they function.
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