Nothing is more important to GVEC than you and your family’s safety, which is why we recommend you prepare in advance for emergencies by learning more about your breaker box. Here are four suggestions:


  1. Know the location of your breaker box. For most homes, the main breaker box is outside near the meter or on a pole where electric power comes into the meter. Most homes also have subpanels, which are breaker boxes usually found in the garage, utility room or closet. Larger or older homes may have two or more subpanels.
  2. Locate the main utility shut off. This is inside the box or is a lever outside the main breaker box and should be labeled. It’s often at the top of the panel or sits separately from other, smaller circuits. The other circuits are typically for major appliances like your stove and AC, and one is usually for the subpanel in your home.
  3. Label all of the circuits in the main box as well as in the subpanel. Each major appliance has one circuit and breaker to itself. Other circuits inside your home will feed multiple lights and plugs in one or more rooms. If possible, make a circuit map that indicates each circuit and the outlets and lights it feeds. Don’t make assumptions!
  4. Know your other utilities. Contact your water and gas providers individually and obtain information on emergency plans that could affect those services.

Take note! Shutting off the main breaker only disconnects the electricity inside your home. The line from the electric company that brings electricity into your home will still be energized. If you must flip a switch, make sure to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and step to one side in case an arc occurs.

breaker box basics


  1. If you need help identifying your breaker box, contact a qualified electrician or GVEC for help.
  2. If tripped circuit breakers is a recurring problem, there is something wrong with your home’s electrical system. Call a qualified electrician to inspect and repair it.
  3. Even if the power is off, you can still open garage doors powered by electricity. Find out where the manual release is and practice using it. It’s usually a rope hanging near the garage door motor.
  4. If the power isn’t on, your home’s Internet won’t work. You should be able to reach the Internet by using your smartphone’s cellular data connection
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