Why Labeling a Circuit Breaker Box is Important?

When moving into a new residence or building for business, having a sufficient understanding of the installed electrical system can be very beneficial for when problems and issues arise. When needing to conduct repairs, reset breakers after a trip, or respond to any complication, familiarity with the circuit breaker is a crucial first step. This is due to the fact that the circuit breaker is what controls the electricity of different parts of your building. In this article, we will discuss how to properly chart out your building’s electrical system so as to organize and respond to any complication.


When there is an excess load in a circuit, perhaps caused by too many operating appliances or a short circuit, the breaker “trips”, meaning it automatically shuts off to prevent damage to the circuit. This is denoted by a breaker switch being flipped on the circuit breaker panel. If your breaker is properly labeled, it can prove to be simple confirming which circuit has tripped. If there is a previous chart system in place that is dated or confusing, it is recommended to simply remove and redo it to create clear and concise labels for everyone interacting with the breaker box. Creating or maintaining an index of circuits is not only important for yourself, but is also required by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

The first step to charting out your building’s electrical system is to number each breaker and then test which outlets and fixtures are controlled by each breaker. It is important to note that not every controlled outlet or fixture by a single breaker is always in the same room, so testing each one is pertinent to correct labeling. After testing each circuit, it is then time to create an index so that it may be referred back to when attempting fixes or requesting repairs. Creating more general but descriptive indexing for which circuit controls an area is very important so that future owners and workers can understand your chart. Lastly, creating a floor plan with the labeling of each circuit, appliance, and outlet that is controlled by various circuits can also be highly beneficial to those who may be working on the electrical system for repairs.

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November 27, 2019

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