two many breakers?

A client called today stating that the security system guy was there today to install a system. When he was in the electrical main he stated that there were 22 breakers in the panel that is designed for 20 breakers. He told the home owner the panel is being over loaded. I will be looking at the issue tomorrow. The picture is small but any help would be greatly accepted.

It’s a 200amp main

Let me guess…
The security system installer moonlights by replacing panels in his spare time.
How convenient.

You need to check the panel label for the total number of breakers allowed. You also need to see if tandems are acceptable for use in the panel. The HO may need to have the tandems removed and single pole breakers installed.

I could be wrong but most 200 amp panels are made for more than 20 circuits.

I do not think the security guy knows how to count. With the double pole breakers I counted about 18 + the main.

Good suggestion about reading the panel label as this will give you the information about the breakers.

You may recommend they find a different security company:D

David, each double pole counts as 2, as does each tandem. I counted 21 or 22.

I counted 21, some look mismatched and might not be allowed in that panel. Actually it looks like there is room to add 6 more.

Does the number of breakers necessarily mean the panel is overloaded.

The panel is a typical 20/40 style meaning you could put 20 full size or 40 half size or any combination not to exceed 40 breakers.
I don’t see anything wrong with this panel.
I would question the security installers credentials. He might be a great security installer but that doesn’t make him qualified to make the statements he did about this panel.

Another thing: What is the security installer doing in the electrical panel???

No it doesn’t.

There is nothing wrong with this panel. A 200 amp panel can hold enough breakers for the space available on the bus bar. The only way there would be an overload is if the service to the home is less than 200 amps and the 200 amp sub panel was full. In that case you would have to upgrade the service main to 200 amps

Not necessarily RC, you could feed a 200 amp panel from a 100 amp panel and they could be no need for any upgrade. The installer might have just installed a lot more circuits than a builder. Number of breakers has no correlation to the actual load on the breakers. If in doubt a demand load calculation needs to be performed.

Did anyone notice the wiring job?? Very professional. I think that an electrician with workmanship like that would know about overloading a panel with too many breakers. I also think Mr. Security Man is full of …

There is a wire passing through an open knockout, not as professional as you think.

Usually the panel diagram will also indicate where the tandems are only to be located. Look for this.


That looks like a GE 20/40. You can see the extra tabs on the upper bus (where there are no breakers) to allow the use of 1/2" size breakers. The conductor through the open KO is a GEC.

Read the legend on the cover or face panel…it tells you everything…

That is GE load centre and that is 20/40 set up and that is pretty comnmon box I have run into.