On the front of the house I have a meter and below it is a sub panel. I open the cover and there is a single switch in the middle of the panel (looks like a giant light switch) and it is spring loaded. You cannot turn it off. Can you tell me what is the purpose and how to turn off?

  • 2
    Can you post a picture of this switch and an overview of the whole setup? May 17, 2019 at 17:08
  • A switch that cannot be switched is no longer a switch. Have you removed the inner cover to expose the wiring inside? It is possible to remove the switch if it is in fact frozen I recently had to replace the outside disconnect box because it was rusted so bad.
    – Kris
    May 17, 2019 at 18:30
  • Inadvisable to open the box and poke at this without first having the service disconnected by the electric company. Could be Very Unpleasantly Interesting.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 17, 2019 at 21:00
  • 1
    Can you post pictures of this setup? May 18, 2019 at 0:37
  • I have a feeling it's not a subpanel at all, but rather, a main breaker that is really stiff. That may be natural, or it may be defective coughFPEcough. Does it have numbers written on the handle? May 20, 2019 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


From the description, not a sub-panel, but a main disconnect switch.

Unclear why you are having trouble switching it off - if having trouble switching it ON, you might have a problem causing it to trip (they are almost always circuit breakers, not "merely switches")

It probably will take considerable force to switch off, but you should not need (nor use) a prybar or hammer on it. ;-) A forceful and determined motion of the hand towards the "off" direction should suffice.

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