Every permanent electrical device in your home is connected to a circuit, that is in turn controlled by a circuit breaker in your breaker box. It might be easy to overlook labelling your electrical panel, but it is incredibly important to do so. If you ever need to shut off the power to a specific circuit or reset a breaker that has tripped, being able to find the right breaker is important. Taking the time to create a circuit directory and properly label your electrical panel will pay off!
We’ve put together some ways that you can label your electrical panel and why it is important to do so!
Electrical Panel Labels: Make it Permanent
One of the easiest ways to label your electric panel is to simply use a label maker. Not only are these labels clear and easy to read, but they will last a long time if applied properly on a clean surface. Another option is to simply use a permanent marker and write directly on your electrical panel. While this might not be the ideal option for someone who doesn’t have the best handwriting, it can be a great way to permanently label your breaker box.
If you don’t like the idea of writing or sticking a label to the electrical panel directly, a great way to get around this is to create an electrical panel map on a sheet of paper and tuck it inside a clear plastic sleeve. This can then be taped on the inside of the electrical panel door to provide an easy directory for anyone needing to access the breaker box.
Keep Names Simple
It might be tempting to get creative with how you name things in your electrical panel, chances are you won’t be living in your current house forever. Rather than naming labels something like “Playroom” or “Sarah’s Bedroom”, keep it simple and opt for names that will make the locations obvious, such as, “South Bedroom” or “Garage Outlets”. Keeping your labels simple and generic will make it easy for anyone new coming into the home to identify the correct breakers.
There might be some breakers that aren’t connected to any circuits. Labelling these breakers “Spare” will help you to know not to bother with them if you ever find yourself searching for the right breaker.
Map Your Circuits
When it comes to labelling your electrical panel, you might find that some have already been labelled. These are usually connected to your bigger circuits, for things like your dryer and range. Other breakers will have dedicated circuits, so if you happen to switch off a breaker and find that only your fridge isn’t working, you’ve found its dedicated breaker.
One way to help you determine what circuits connect to which appliances is to look at the amperage (amp) rating of each circuit. This is typically the number printed on the circuit toggle. Certain appliances have specific amp ratings, so if an appliance is rated for 20 amps, it won’t be using a 15-amp breaker. Take note of everything that is on a specific circuit and transfer that information into your directory or the label itself.
Ensuring that your electrical panel is labelled correctly will not only help you to know where to look if you happen to trip a breaker, but it can also help you in an emergency. This might be a task that is easy to overlook and put off, but it is worth doing in the long run!