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How to Label Your Circuit Breakers Properly

If you’re having trouble working your circuit panels at home, it might be because they’re not labeled properly and can cause confusion as a result.

This can make resetting tripped breakers difficult, since you would have to spend more time figuring out which one to reset instead. To keep this from happening, creating your own directory and labeling your breakers properly will make everything much more convenient and even save you time in case of an emergency.

Mapping Out Your Circuit Breaker

If you have specific appliances at home that require a lot of electricity, such as dryers and washing machines, there’s a good chance they’re already labeled for convenience.

However, if your circuit breaker panel isn’t already labeled (or labeled properly), you can start right now by switching them off one at a time. If you switch off a breaker and find a particular appliance that won’t turn on, you have found its dedicated circuit.

Another way to do this is by looking at the numbers printer on the circuit toggle lever, as these numbers are the usual ampere ratings for different appliances and devices.

When checking outlets, be sure to use a non-contact voltage tester and stick each probe into each outlet slot. If the tester lights up, then it means that there is still an electric current in the outlet.

Making Your Labels Understandable

Avoid using nicknames! Using nicknames only you or those living in the unit as you can understand, such as your roommates and family, will make it difficult for other people to know which breaker controls which circuit.

Instead of using vague labels, such as “(X)’s Room”, use ones that are more easily understood, such as “Master Bedroom”, or “Kitchen”.

Keeping it Permanent

To make sure that that no one gets confused over which breaker controls which circuit at home, label your panel with something clear and permanent.

It’s definitely a bad idea to use a pencil, but you can use a pen instead or even a permanent marker or a felt-tip pen.

If you feel that your handwriting isn’t legible enough, you can choose to have your labels printed instead, or use a dedicated label marker to keep your labels neat and as legible as possible.

Keeping the Circuit Directory

It’s not enough to just label your circuit panel and leave it at that. You also need to write everything down on a sheet of paper or a notebook and keep it somewhere dry or safe where it won’t be lost. This will be your “back-up” copy that you can use in case of emergencies.

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