How to Safely Work on Your Home’s Electrical Panel

How to Safely Work on Your Home's Electrical Panel


Working on your home's electrical panel can be intimidating, but with the right precautions it can be done safely. As the homeowner, you are allowed to work on your own electrical panel, but you need to follow important safety steps. In this guide, I will walk through the complete process of how to safely work on your home's electrical panel, from preparation to shutting off power, making modifications, and turning everything back on.

Preparation Steps

Before beginning any work on the electrical panel, you need to take some preliminary safety precautions. Here are the key steps:

Gather Proper Safety Gear

Turn Off Power at Main Breaker

The most critical safety step is to turn off power to the entire panel at the main breaker before starting work. This main breaker is normally at the top or side of the panel.

Verify Power is Off

After turning off the main breaker, you should verify power is fully disconnected using a non-contact voltage tester on wires and terminals in the panel. Check multiple spots to be certain.

Remove Panel Cover

With power verified as off, you can now safely remove the front panel cover to gain internal access. This may require unscrewing screws or releasing latches.

Making Electrical Modifications

With the panel safely powered down, you can now complete your intended electrical work, such as:

Installing a New Breaker

Replacing a Breaker

Changing Wiring

Final Safety Checks

Once your electrical work is complete, you need to carefully restore power and verify proper operation:

Check Connections

Restore Panel Cover

Turn Power Back On

Test Circuit Breakers

Verify Lights and Outlets

Hiring an Electrician

While DIY electrical work can save money, for larger or more complex electrical jobs, hiring a licensed electrician is recommended. They have the proper training, experience, and equipment to safely handle electrical problems beyond basic panel maintenance.


Working on your home's electrical panel doesn't have to be a scary process. Just remember to turn off power, wear protective gear, check wires thoroughly, and work cautiously. Follow proper safety procedures and you can upgrade your electrical service with confidence. The ability to maintain your own panel can save you both time and money over your home's lifetime.