Panel Layout of Breakers - Does It Matter?

Tom PultzJanuary 31, 2010

I've seen a couple of recommendations on panel layout and I was wondering if there' a conscensus on design or does everyone just do it "their way" and it doesn't really matter.

Some say stack all the 2-pole breakers on the right side and others say to alternate them at the top. My current GE panel has them all on the right but I'm thinking of putting them at the top with my QO panel.

Seems to me if you stack them that would be worse from a heat buildup perspective since 2-pole breakers are heavier loads and generate more heat... and each one would affect the one above and so on. It would also seem that placing the heavier loads at the top where they are closer to the start of the power busses would be better.

Thoughts? Would love to see some pictures of various designs.

Thanks.

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bigbird_1

"Seems to me if you stack them that would be worse from a heat buildup "
Not an issue

"It would also seem that placing the heavier loads at the top where they are closer to the start of the power busses would be better."
Not an issue

Put the breakers any which way you like. If there was any potential problem the manufacturer would have to specify that in the instructions. They don't and there isn't.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 6:21PM
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petey_racer

Second everything BB said.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 7:04PM
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brickeyee

2-pole breakers pull from both legs to access 240 V so there position does not really matter.

Even single pole breakers are normally pretty self balancing in a residential panel since every other slot on both sides is the opposite leg, and very large loads are 240 V anyway.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Tom Pultz

Thanks guys. I guess I will just do it "my way" :-) The main reason I asked is there are conflicting opinions on what is "right." I was speaking to a retired electrician the other day and when I told him I was going to stack all the double pole breakers on the right he was really against that because of what he claimed was a potential heat issue, but that opinion is probably just that, an opinion. As bigbird said if this was an issue the panel manufacturer would spell it out.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:58PM
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normel

The only thing you may consider, if your panel has specific slots for tandem breakers, is that you not put double pole breakers in these slots... makes thing more difficult to rearrange if you need tandems later.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:07PM
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Ron Natalie

I fill from the top down because it's easier to knock out the tabs out of the panel if they are contiguous.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:35AM
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btharmy

"The only thing you may consider, if your panel has specific slots for tandem breakers, is that you not put double pole breakers in these slots... makes thing more difficult to rearrange if you need tandems later."
normel makes a good point here.
That is the only reason I try to keep the two pole brkrs toward the top because most panels I am aware of that allow tandem breakers make provisions for them at the bottom most section of breaker spaces. This is evidenced by the slot in the buss in the last 6 or so breaker spaces. Otherwise, as everyone else said, it's really up to you.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 6:48PM
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