Electricians: Load Center terminology question

With regard to a load center, what is meant by the terms “space” and “circuit”?

This box, for example, is “2 space, 4 circuit”. But if I choose to run four circuits out of this box, would not each circuit require its own breaker? Thereby necessitating four spaces, and therefore FOUR openings in the front cover? The cover in this picture appears to have only two breaker knock-outs.

I need a box that will accept a 208 volt main (two hots and a neutral) and split it off through breakers to two appliances that each require their own 208V.

Someone will probably come along and do better than me, but it’s got to do with the way you wire individual circuits. Typically, one space takes one breaker for one circuit. But, if you’re wiring 208 or 240, you’d do your wiring (and breakers) different.

Like for your washer/dryer or water heater, you’d need 208V. In a 120/240 house, you’d use–like you said–two hots and a neutral. That’d require two spaces, but one physical breaker.

Just a bunch of WAGs from a guy that hasn’t opened his NEC 2003 since. . . well, 2003.

It’s a miracle none of my projects have yet burned down. Huzzah metal-framed buildings! :smack:

Each of the “spaces” in the panel you linked will accomodate one tandem breaker or two single breakers. A tandem breaker picks up both of the hots and thus provides 208 V. A single breaker only gets one side to provide 120 V. So you can have two 208 volt breakers (two circuits) or four 120 volt breakers (4 circuits.)

Since you need two 208 volt circuits, this panel will be adequate for your immediate needs. However, if those needs change in the future or you want to add some 120 V circuits to this location, you will have to replace this panel. Better to go with a larger panel now, just in case.

[Personal Opinion] Cutler Hammer breakers and panels are not very good. Spend a few more dollars and get a Square D or Siemens panel.