How to properly label an electrical panel

 How to properly label an electrical panel

Nothing can be more frustrating than when you need to turn a circuit off in your house and you find that you don't know which one it is.Here is some information to explain how it should be done.

2017 NEC Article 110.12 states: "Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner."

2017 NEC Article 408.4(A) states: "Every circuit and circuit modification shall be legibly identified as to its clear, evident, and specific purpose or use. The identification shall include an approved degree of detail that allows each circuit to be distinguished from all others. Spare positions that contain unused overcurrent devices or switches shall be described accordingly. The identification shall be included in a circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the panel door in the case of a panelboard and at each switch or circuit breaker in a switchboard or switchgear. No circuit shall be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions of occupancy."

See the below electrical panel schedule – it does not meet the code requirements described above.It was not done in a neat and workmanlike manner and every circuit is not legibly identified as to its clear, evident, and specific purpose or use.You cannot use abbreviations to describe what is on each circuit and you cannot use the same description on multiple lines.For example, lines 13 and 15 below both say Kit which stands for kitchen.In order to label this correctly, each circuit needs to be more specifically identified (west kitchen plugs; east kitchen plugs; etc.).Also, lines 20 and 28 use a symbol to describe lights in the entry and nook rather than writing it out.

Of course, you don't need to write a novel when filling in the blanks, but they need to be descriptive enough to understand exactly what the circuit is for.And each line that is used must be filled in and none of them can use the exact same description.For example, in the picture below, lines 1, 3, 5, and 7 all say hot water heater.Those need to be more specifically identified (hot water heater front/right; hot water heater rear/left; etc.).

The code also specifically states that "[n]o circuit shall be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions of occupancy."That means that you cannot use terms specific to your house to describe the circuits.For example, you cannot describe a bedroom as Tim's bedroom since Tim will not always occupy that room and future homeowners won't know which room that is describing.To use the below panel as an example, lines 14 and 16 describe bedrooms 1, 2, and 3.No one going to that house later knows which bedrooms those descriptions are for.In a case like this, it is best to label them more specifically, such as southwest bedroom; upstairs north bedroom; basement west bedroom; etc.

Below is another example of an electrical panel schedule that was not labeled correctly. 

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Saturday, 17 August 2019

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