Advice on labelling fusebox?

alisonMay 18, 2011

The fusebox for my new/old 3-story house not only lacks a lid -- but none of the circuits except the fridge are labelled.

The home inspector and an electrician friend who was in town at the time told me there's nothing wrong with the box; the wiring is messy but safe; but both suggested I get the individual circuits labelled.

A friend is coming over this weekend to help me. Short of turning on everything we can in every room, then call each other on cell phones while one person flip switches and the other roams the house -- is there an easier way to do this?

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You can buy circuit detectors for a relatively small amount of money which can detect which breaker is feeding outlets and light switches. What I did was remove the plastic plate from each outlet or switch and wrote the number of the breaker on the inside of the plate in indelible marker. I also kept track of what was what, and marked the breakers accordingly. Even with my 10-yr-old house where the electricians DID label the breakers, half the outlets in my MBR are not on the breaker labeled MBR at the panel.

However, if you go this route, DO NOT ASSUME the detector got it right as they sometimes will give you a false reading. If you are going to do electrical work, you can shut down the breaker you think is the right one, but TEST the circuit before you start poking around.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 4:43PM
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If you want to do it by yourself, a portable radio with the volume turned up works. There are circuit tracers but the ones most homeowners can afford (and justify) aren't perfect. You'll likely still need to double check.

My preference is for a neatly typed, painfully detailed list of what each breaker controls. Not "Bedroom #1" but rather "northwest bedroom" and "southwest bedroom" "Garage light, garage receptacle, front porch light, main entry hall light"

It's pretty easy to do with Excel or Word.

And, you'll want to get a cover ASAP.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 7:13PM
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Send me your email and I'll email you a microsift word document I found for labeling circuits.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 7:20AM
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