Whether you have rented an apartment or you own a home, you must understand the fundamentals of the electric system installed in your home. In case of an emergency, you should know what to do. It is better to know how to turn off the circuit and when to reset the circuit breaker. The electric panel is the main component, to begin with, because it controls the supply of power.
Electric Panel: Electric Panel is a component of an electricity supply system that divides an electrical power feed into subsidiary circuits, while providing a protective fuse or circuit breaker for each circuit in a common enclosure. The electric panel is also known as the “Panelboard”, “Breaker Panel”, or “Distribution board”.
What should you know about your home electricals?
There are two things you should know: electricity is dangerous. Don’t experiment if you don’t know what you are going to do. Second, label the home’s electric panel directory so that it is legible and accurate.
If power trips in just one area of your home, then the cause is a tripped breaker panel. If you open the box of the electric panel, then you will find one switch has tripped in another direction. Labeling a circuit breaker will help you to confirm which areas’ circuit breaker switch has tripped, without any doubts. It will be an easy fix for you.
Procedure for Labeling Electrical Panel
If the circuit breaker panel has an index and it is old, pull it out. Start from scratch, don’t erase or rewrite the index. This may lead to confusion. follow following steps to label a home electrical panel.
Step 1: Number every circuit breaker
Assign a number to each circuit breaker inside the breaker panel. Start with #1 from your top left side of the panel and proceed down until you reach the end. Once you reach the end, start again from the top right and go to the bottom.
Use a sticky label and write each number with a marker next to the breaker it refers to. Draw a diagram on a paper with dimensions 8 X 11, arrange the numbers exactly as they are on the panel, and write a description next to each number. Don’t write room names like bedroom, because it leads to confusion if your home has two or more bedrooms. You can write its name in the bracket for better understanding.
Step 2: Locate all the devices on the circuit breaker box
Shutdown all the circuit breaker switches and start with the switch one by one. Check every outlet and light fixture installed in your home. Determine which one is controlled by which circuit breaker. Check every outlet and light fixture to confirm it, and do not get confused. Once you have identified all the outlets and fixtures controlled by the first circuit, move on to the next one and repeat the same procedure for all the switches.
Step 3: Write down the results
Make a list of all the light fixtures and outlets that are turned on by turning on the circuit breaker. Do not repeat yourself by assuming every device on a specific circuit breaker will be located in the same room or area.
Do repeat the process and complete the list. Be sure to add each and every wall switch, light fixture and outlet identified by the corresponding circuit including the ones that are in the basement and garage.
Step 4: Test all the appliance circuits
You have noticed few circuit breakers are paired. The paired circuit breaker controls a 240 V appliance like a furnace, air conditioner, stove, electric dryer, water heater etc. Check each paired circuit breaker and note down which appliance is powered on by that circuit breaker.
Certain single pole circuit breakers also power dedicated home appliances, like ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, garbage disposers and microwaves. Always use a non-contact voltage tester when you are checking, a non-contact voltage tester is the safest way to test the voltage and connections.
Step 5: Make an index
Make a comprehensive description of each circuit breaker and label it next to the corresponding number. Make sure to use proper terms that are easily understandable.
After that, draw a floor plan that shows locations of the fixtures, outlets, wiring and home appliances so anyone who is working on your home’s electrical system finds the information useful in identifying anomalies and making repairs.