Where can I find the main shut off breaker It doesn’t let upload my picture but my breaker is small but doesn’t have main shut off and meter doesn’t have a switch either enter image description here

  • Is it saying your picture is too large? Or can you not find the button for uploading pictures? Jul 25, 2019 at 0:59
  • The image is too big Jul 25, 2019 at 1:03
  • Email it to yourself. The phone should automatically make the picture a smaller size appropriate for email. Jul 25, 2019 at 1:06
  • @AnthonyAlvarez -- you can also try posting it to imgur and posting a link in the comments here, then we can edit it in :) Jul 25, 2019 at 2:43
  • 1
    My ca 1970 GE panel has no master breaker. I have to switch off four 2-pole breakers to turn off all power to the house. However, one of these 2-pole breakers is the "main" breaker for all the 120 V circuits in the structure. This breaker (60 A) feeds all the 15 A and 20 A breakers in the panel so with one flip I can turn off power to all the 120 V receptacles and lights. The other three 2-pole breakers are, respectively, for the clothes dryer (30 A), the a/c condensing unit (40 A), and the electric range (50 A). Jul 25, 2019 at 9:48

3 Answers 3


You may have what is called a Rule of Six setup. This means that more than one, but no more than six, separate switches need to be turned off to turn off all power to the building. As I understand it, this was allowed many years ago in order to make large panels without having a really big main breaker, but it has been used in many different ways. It is not the normal way to do things today - I'm not sure if it is even allowed for new installations, but old "rule of six" installations that are functioning OK are grandfathered.

For example, in my house there are two pairs of fuse blocks to be pulled out in each of two fuse panels that came with the house (or at least have been there for a very long time) plus a main breaker in a subpanel added with my kitchen remodel, for a total of 5 items to be pulled or switched to cut off everything. If/when I finally get this all replaced with one nice big breaker panel, I will need to have the electric company pull the meter/cut power to do that. Of course, I'll want them to increase my total service at the same time, and the end result is a lot of work and money and..."someday".


You may not have one. I’ve twice owned houses where the main breaker panel did not have a single master breaker.

In those cases, shutting off power to the whole house involved having the professionals physically cut the lines where they reached the house. I chose to have a new breaker panel with a master shutoff installed in each case.

  • Where are you on this planet? Did those panels have two "banks" of breakers, one above the other? Jul 25, 2019 at 2:42
  • No. They were normal two column panels as I regularly see in houses in the mid-west USA. Both were older houses.
    – Elros
    Jul 25, 2019 at 3:02
  • Pull the meter why cut the line feed?
    – Kris
    Jul 27, 2019 at 14:41
  • I don’t recall.
    – Elros
    Jul 28, 2019 at 2:36


You have a larger problem here than your inability to find a main breaker; namely, that your panel is one of those infamous FPE Stab-Lok firestarters. I would have the meter pulled (or "pulled", most smart meters can disconnect the power to your house remotely upon utility request, and your average utility will do it for free if you call them during business hours) and this panel replaced with something of modern make ASAP.

Given that this panel never had room for anything other than a backfed main breaker to begin with, I seriously doubt it's anything more than a 100A unit, so a 24-space or 30-space, 100A, main breaker, NEMA 3R (outdoor) panel will suffice as a replacement. That will take care of both the FPE fire hazard and the fact this panel violates the rule of six (it was intended to be used as a subpanel or a rule-of-six main panel with six two pole breakers, but was configured improperly by an installer who didn't know any better), all in one fell swoop.

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