Galvin Power is reader-supported. When you buy via our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more

How to Shut the Power Off Before the Breaker Box for Safe Troubleshooting

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how to shut the power off before the breaker box

Are you still worried about residual electricity even if you turn off power to breaker box?

Do you know how to shut the power off before the breaker box for much safer troubleshooting?

When working in an electrical system, turning off the main breaker in the panel may not be enough for safety, especially if you aren’t familiar with the circuit. You might run into an accident because there remains a connection with the primary power source. So, to add confidence to your maintenance or repair activity, it’s better to cut off the primary power source before your breaker panel.

Read the article below to learn how to shut off power before breaker box.

Tools You Need

Turning off the main electrical source before the breaker panel usually doesn’t require any tool. However, most of these switches are protected by either a screw, a cable tie, or padlock. So, to avoid inconveniences, have a screwdriver or scissors with you. Or if you secured it with a lock, bring its key or use a pair of bolt cutters.

Furthermore, use a non-contact voltage meter to verify if there is still electricity in your line before performing any troubleshoots.

How to Cut the Main Power Source Before Your Breaker Panels


Cutting the main supply of your home electrical system is straightforward. Here is the step-by-step guide on how to do it properly.

Step 1: Turn Off and Unplug All Appliances in Your House

First and foremost, before you turn off power to house from outside, ensure that all your appliances are unplugged and turned off. This is to prevent damage to your devices due to an unexpected power loss. Make this a habit every time you need to turn off your circuit inside or outside your home.

Step 2: Locate the Main Breaker


To locate your main breaker, look at your electric meter base. It is usually attached to the line right before it enters your structure. For some houses near an electrical pole, the meter base is attached to the wall of your home.

However, some meter bases are attached to a dedicated pole, especially for homes away from the electrical post. Furthermore, some old houses still use a fuse box instead of a breaker box.

Step 3: Turn Off the Main Breaker


Once you find the main breaker and open its enclosure, you will find a lever switch. Turn the lever either to the off position to cut off the power source. Now that the supply is cut, you can use a non-contact voltage tester to verify that the line has no power. After this, you can now troubleshoot your electrical system safely.

Step 4: Turn Back On the Main Breaker


After completing your task, you can now switch on the main power supply of your electrical system. To turn on your main breaker, you need to put it in the on position.

Please note that there are different types of main breakers you can find in other houses. They may vary based on your electrician’s preference and the age of your structure. You can watch this video by ClayElectricCoop, explaining the different types of main breakers.

Furthermore, some houses don’t have a main breaker. That means you can only cut the main power supply directly at your meter base. In this situation, you should hire a professional electrician to help address your problem.


Learning how to cut off power to a building from outside is much safer than simply turning off the main breaker in your panel box. Plus, it brings you more confidence in your circuit repair work, knowing that you are safe from accidents.

Now that you know how to shut the power off before the breaker box, you can now safely perform troubleshooting in your house circuit.

5/5 - (3 votes)