Master electrician Heath Eastman shows host Kevin O’Connor how to label a breaker panel. Heath shows Kevin some of the tools he uses to find and identify breakers, as well as his label maker. But, Heath says when individually printed labels aren’t possible due to space constraints, a printable template that can be sized for any space and printed on adhesive paper does the trick.
Why Should You Label a Breaker Box?
When it comes to setting up an electrical breaker box, labels are important. Understanding which breakers control which receptacles improves safety when working on electrical circuits or when troubleshooting electrical issues. Plus, an unorganized electrical panel looks sloppy, of which Heath is not a fan.
How To Find Breakers
There are a few ways to find breakers and the receptacles they control.
- Two-Person Method: The two-person method involves one person at the panel and one person in the field, preferably using radios or phones to communicate. As the person at the panel shuts breakers down, the person in the field reports which devices shut off. This method can be the quickest, as they can quickly move from breaker to breaker or device to device.
- Circuit Detector: If you don’t have a second person available, a circuit detector can help. These devices work by plugging into an outlet or light socket and sending a signal through the wires. Back at the panel, the electrician uses the signal detector to identify which breaker controls the receptacle. The breakers must be off for this to work properly.
How To Label Breakers
Labeling the individual breakers is just as important as identifying them. Heath suggests using a label maker when possible, creating self-adhesive labels that can stick to the panel and make the individual circuits.
However, when that’s not possible, Heath suggests finding a breaker identification template online. These templates can be adjusted to fit any space, allowing users to stick them above the breakers, below, or even on the door (as long as they don’t hide the panel’s identification label). Heath suggests printing these labels on adhesive-backed paper and adhering them to the panel.
Heath walks Kevin O’Connor through a couple of techniques to identify what electrical outlets are connected to which breakers.
To better organize an electrical panel, Heath recommends using a label maker to create clean-looking labels with adhesive backing.
If space is an issue and your panel can’t accommodate larger labels, use a label template that can be easily resized to fit neatly. Panel label templates can be found online and printed off with adhesive paper.
Use a circuit breaker finder to accurately identify which breakers are connected to what receptacle without having to interrupt service.