In the process of finishing our basement we had to add a few breakers to our main breaker panel, which was poorly labeled to begin with. I took the opportunity to go around the house and establish exactly which breakers controlled which receptacles and made a new label key with all the details.
This is a really easy (and oddly fun) project to tackle when you’ve got the time.
I used a standard-issue electrical outlet tester (picture on the right), created the breaker label key as a Word table, then laminated the printed version and taped it to the inside of the panel door.
Locating all the connections proved to take some time. Some rooms in our house have receptacles and/or lighting connected to three separate breakers! The key is to flip only one breaker at a time and find everything that won’t turn on when it’s off.
Finishing the list itself took very little time, and now that I have it saved on my computer, I can easily make changes as we need to and reprint it.
Label Receptacle and Switch Plates
For new work, we recommend writing the breaker number on the receptacle/switch box when you first run the wire. Then when you finish up, grab a Sharpie and write the breaker number on the inside of the switchplate… We’re about to write it on the one below.
If you ever need to work on that receptacle in the future, you’ll know just which breaker to flip and can save the trial-and-error-followed-by-clock-resetting-all-over-the-house method most of us have experienced in the past.
(Photo credit: Receptacle tester and breaker finder – Amazon.com)