Electrical – What type of breakers is this and how should they be switched back on

circuit breakerelectrical-panel

My friend is taking care of my 25 year old home in British Columbia (Canada) and all breakers were switched off when I went away, except for the Main at the bottom and the garage one for him to be able to activate the garage door to access the garden tools. Now he needs to turn some heaters on in the house to keep the temperature inside above 10C as the weather is cooling down, but most breakers seem to be set up by set of four, with a top-bottom tandem (linked by a metal plate) and a middle tandem (linked by a small bar).

The pic shows the panel configuration after he switched some breakers ON, but I wonder if there are any rules when selectively switching some of these linked breakers ON and OFF? Anything to be careful about? I am concerned with fire hazard as there is nobody in there to detect a problem (short circuit, etc.).


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Best Answer

Turn on breakers for only necessary circuits like heat. Since the house is unoccupied, there's no reason to turn on any of the others.

If you have ever had problems with freezing pipes and have, therefore, installed heat tape on some pipes, ensure that the breakers that control the outlets these are plugged into are turned on, as well. If not, you could end up with pipes freezing and bursting and finding a watery mess when you return.

I do note that in your pic the "Heat" is turned on (red, center pair, bottom right), but also the "Kitchen counter outlets" (blue, center pair, top right) are also turned on. Unless there are vital appliances or other devices (don't leave a space heater plugged in, turned on and unattended!) plugged in, there's probably no reason to have these outlets powered.