(My house is in Texas, built in 2001.)
Today I was outside inspecting my electricals -- as one does -- and I was surprised to see that there is no main breaker installed in my primary breaker box.
Now, there is a punch-out spot for a main breaker, but it is vacant (and not punched). Below it are 4 breakers (are these called "branch circuits?") for:
- dryer (30A)
- subpanel (60A)
- a/c (60A)
- unlabelled, but by process of elimination: oven (50A).
This primary panel is on the exterior of my house, and is fed by short conduit from the meter base directly next to it. The power service comes in from underground, directly up into the meter base (which is sealed w/ a serial-numbered tag.) There doesn't seem to be anywhere else that the main breaker could be.
Why might this 2001 residence not have a main breaker? Was this ever to code?
How could anyone safely service this primary breaker box, unless they first schedule the electric company to come out and yank the meter or otherwise disconnects service?
If I were to have a main breaker added, what amperage should I get? I don't know this 100%, but I assume based on my appliances, usage patterns, and the fact that I have a "CL200" meter that I have 200A service. However, there are a few puzzling details about this primary breaker box that raise some doubts:
- The manufacturer's sticker says that if someone was to remove the main breaker, that they should fill the hole with cover "QOM1FP", which hints that the size of breaker that fits that hole is a QOM1 form-factor. From googling, it seems like that form-factor tops out at 125A.1
- I think I've read that the main breaker doesn't have to be as large as 200A just because your branches sum to 200, but even still 125A seems low, all considering. I have certainly run my dryer, A/C, dishwasher, oven and sundry appliances all simultaneously, and 125A seems like I'd be asking for trouble, if they had bothered to put in a main breaker that could fit this panel.
- Does the above imply that, if I wanted to add a sane main breaker, that I'd need to have this main panel upgraded? The panel, model "40265-765-01", isn't searchable on SquareD/Schneider's website anymore.)
1 For QOM1 amperages, see https://stevenengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/45CBMCC.pdf
UPDATE: a respondent has suggested that I upload a picture of the panel: