Hiller Know-How: Why Labeling Your Electrical Panel Is a Good Idea

Electricity can be dangerous in any situation, so when working with your home’s electrical system, you should always use extra precaution. A great way to reduce the risk is to label your home’s electrical panel.

An electrical panel distributes electrical currents to your home’s electrical circuits. It is also where you turn on or off all the power to your home. Since the electrical panel controls all the power to circuit breakers, it can be difficult to identify the circuit served by a particular circuit breaker.

When labeling your home’s electrical panel, you can either place labels directly next to each circuit, or you can create a diagram or chart and then place it on the inside door of the electrical panel. Labeling your electrical panel can take some time, but once it is complete you (and future owners of your home) will be grateful!

Here are some steps to labeling your electrical panel:

  1. Go through and around your entire home and turn on all your lights.
  2. Now it is a process of elimination. We recommend turning off everything in the electrical panel and then turning on one circuit at a time. Go check what items are powered and then label that circuit with those items/area of your home.
    1. If turning on a breaker doesn’t turn on any lights in your home, this most likely means it is powering something else in your home that uses a lot of power such as built-in appliances, kitchen & garage outlets, sump pump, hard-wired smoke alarms, and security systems. Make sure you check all these items in order to determine where the circuit breaker’s power is going.
  3. Create an index of all the items listed in your house and which circuit they receive their power from. Try to avoid using labels such as “TV room” or “Susan’s room” because this may change for each homeowner. We recommend using cardinal points of direction.
  4. Create either labels or a map of every circuit in the electrical panel and what area and item in your home they power.

Labeling your electrical panel saves time. When you are in an emergency situation, even seconds can matter. Rather than trying several different circuit breakers before finding the right one, simply labeling each circuit will save you time in any situation.

If you have any questions about labeling your electrical panel, or are having trouble determining the function of every circuit in your panel, please call Hiller-Electric at (402) 339-0524. We can send a professional electrician to your home right away to help.

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