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Inspecting The Square D QO Electric Load Center

The Square D – QO and Homeline load centers have some unique features. It is important to note the proper breakers must be used. I know you are thinking; load centers should always have proper breakers, however these breakers are different than ones you are used to seeing. The Neutral Load Centers are specifically built for Arc Fault, Ground Fault, and dual function breakers. Pig tails on these types of circuit breakers have been eliminated using the Square D Plug-on Neutral breakers. This also reduces clutter and additional connections in the panel. These new circuit breakers also have special diagnostics to identify the type of fault that last occurred by holding the test button down. If the breaker trips immediately, it is detecting a fault. If the breaker trips after a 2 second delay, it is detecting an Arc Fault. If the breaker trips after a 5 second delay, it is a thermal overload or short circuit. This is great technology and identifies an issue on the circuit. So what should a home inspector be looking for:

  • The QO load center will have an extended neutral lug on both sides of the panel (this can be seen in the picture above)
  • The specific “Plug-On Neutral” circuit breakers for this load center connect at the rear of the breaker to the extended neutral lug
  • Neutral pigtail’s are not present on these breakers
  • If you see a AFCI or GFCI circuit breaker with a pigtail connection, it is not the proper breaker
  • The Quick-Grip Wire Management System eliminates most knockout removal
  • The Quick-Grip Management system is UL Listed and Code Compliant
  • Eliminates most box connectors
  • Wires connect from the front of the panel and are covered by a protective shield.
  • There is less of a chance of conductors shorting on the panel
  • Quick-Grip connectors can hold up to 5 NM-B wires

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