Is This a Defect In Need of Correction?

I tried to upload a photo, but all I see is the code above. Not sure if you can see the picture. If not, let me know how to post a photo.

I am a new inspector. I am completing the electrical inspection course, so I decided to inspect my own electric service panel in my home. I think there is a defect(s). The service panel is original to the home. The home was built in 1981 and I purchased the home in 1996. The electric service panel is manufactured by GE. Here is what I noticed and wondering if these are defects:

  1. The main service disconnect is in the middle of the panel in the right-hand side of breakers. It is not at the top of the panel. There is no unique position at the top of the service panel for a main disconnect, so the main disconnect has to be positioned either on the left or right bank of breakers. In my service panel, it is on the right, just below a 30 amp breaker for the dryer. Is this o.k. for the main disconnect position?

  2. The main service disconnect is 40 amps. I have not had problems tripping any breakers and I have lived in the home for 25 years. I am not a heavy electricity user. Is 40 amps o.k.?

  3. There is a 20-amp breaker installed at the bottom of the left hand column of breakers. I noticed that all the 20 amp breakers are on the lower-right column of breakers. The lower-left column of breakers is all 15 amp except for this one 20 amp breaker. The 20 amp breaker is a GE breaker, but it is definitely larger in size and looks different than all the other 20 amp breakers. Is there any problem with this? Again, I am not having a problem tripping any breakers. It is just that this 20 amp breaker looks different than the other 20 amp breakers because of its size and that it is in the left column of breakers that are all 15 amp.

Thanks for helping a new inspector!

I see the photo did display. Yeah!

Are you sure that is the main? If you flip it, do all of your lights go out?

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Yes, it cuts off the power for the whole house.

Ok, that was an important piece of information. Is the home a condo?

Post a photo with the panel cover off

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No, it is a single family home. 3 beds / 2 baths and approximately 1,600 square feet.

He is in training. :skull: :skull: :skull:

I can post a photo with the cover off tomorrow. Appreciate if you could check back in tomorrow and look at the photo.

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Oh… and use caution when you do that


Yes, I will turn off all the breakers before I open the cover.

Maybe not.

Do yourself a favor and hold off on the panel removal ok.

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No, there is no outside main disconnect. Just the electric meter.

FYI, flipping the breakers will not de-energize the panel. so hold off until you finish the course or have someone with a bit of experience to work with you.

(some things will be de-energized, not everything)


I will have someone help me tomorrow. I had an electrician look at the panel a few years ago when I had an additional wall outlet installed. They did not report any problems or that the panel was energized.

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I will post a photo tomorrow after the cover is removed, but I will not touch anything on the panel. I will simply take a photo and that is it.


Thanks again for the quick replies and appreciate if you can check back tomorrow for my photo!

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IMO… that sticker says “Main Sect” for “Main Section”… referring to a ‘Split Bus’ panel… all breakers above that point (arrow) need to be OFF for total Disconnect… thus the need to see the cover off to verify.

Agree with Brian. If you’re not sure what you have… WAIT!



Agree, this is a split bus panel. OP, the 40 is simply feeding the lighting and receptacle branch circuits. The dryer, water heater and stove are all feed from the double pole breakers in the top section. 5hose panel had up to 6 throws of the hand as mains to kill the power.


Split Buss Panel if I am not mistaken.