Sloppy labeling of ciruits on door of main panel.

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Old 08-28-19, 08:47 AM
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Sloppy labeling of ciruits on door of main panel.

I think this is not at all uncommon. When electricians install main control boxes in new homes, they sometimes do a sloppy job of labeling the purpose of each breaker on the inside of the door to the main control box. Have you encountered this?

My main control box has one breaker labeled "Iron". What the heck does this mean? Does it mean a certain outlet has been designated for use of a clothing iron? I'm sure this is just complete non-sense.

And then, the mapping shows nothing for one of the bedrooms.

Perhaps sometime I can get someone to work with me (one person in garage and one person moving around in the house) to clarify/correct the mapping.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 09:12 AM
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The Brother P-touch printers, with both 1/4" and 1/2" black on clear tape works great. We are talking about a $25 portable printer. That, and a table lamp will fix this easy problem.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 09:29 AM
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This IS indeed a problem ..The solution is MUCH higher communication standards - from ALL ! The ''writing on the electrical box door label" is terrible - some entries are unreadable .. And the label itself is poorly designed .I have made some improvements, still there is much to do. Doctors cannot write either, are well known for this sloppiness.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 10:46 AM
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Yes it's very common for breakers to be poorly labeled or mislabeled. "Iron" is probably in the laundry area. I have had customers request a specific outlet for ironing, so I wouldn't dismiss that option.

The best way to do a circuit mapping is to plug in a radio and turn it up loud. Then flip the breakers off one by one until the radio goes off.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 12:14 PM
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ibpooks, now that you've mentioned it, labeling the laundry area - what I sometimes call the utility room since it has the furnace and water heater in it, along with the washer and dryer and an indoor water meter and main water line shutoff valve - "Iron" makes some sense. I would not have guessed that because I think of ironing as an activity that can be done anywhere by merely setting up a portable ironing board and plugging the iron into the nearest outlet.

So, after reading your post, I turned off the breaker labeled "Iron", went into the laundry room, and tried outlets. The room only has 3 outlets, one (240V) for the dryer, one (120V) behind the washer, and one regular (120V) outlet on the wall near the door to the room. I plugged the iron into the outlet behind the washer; it worked. Then, I plugged the iron into the outlet near the door. It did not work. So, this confirmed that "Iron" means a specific outlet in the laundry room. I've lived here for many years and don't recall ever being aware that the laundry room had an outlet designated for an iron.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 03:23 PM
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The real issue of poorly labeled panel indexes is things change all the time. Things get remodeled, added, and eliminated over the years. Homes and businesses change hands and the discription "iron" made perfect sense to the owner when it was labeled now makes no sense to you. I'm my panel I have a breaker listed as "boys room" which means nothing to me.

Bottom line is take a panel index with a grain of salt. If you want it to make sense to you, you will have to relabel it.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 04:36 PM
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Brother P touch printer. About $25. Just used it.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 04:57 PM
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I use them all the time but on clear tape ?
Should be black on white tape..... no ?
Clear will allow everything underneath to clutter the label.

It's funny. I had an "iron" circuit in my one sub panel. It was for my mom to iron with.
It was a dedicated circuit just for the iron.
 
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Old 08-28-19, 05:05 PM
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I thought my first reply got lost, sorry;; didn't mean to be so repetitive. And, I was marking white breakers. Tape is avail. in different backgrounds. Yellow may stand out nicely. I rather the actual breaker be marked; can sometimes fit two rows of labels on one SP breaker and the larger width on 2p breakers, where the text is usually shorter.
 
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Old 08-29-19, 02:11 AM
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Just be glad they are labeled. My son bought a house that had recently been rewired, they used every circuit available even though the house only needs a little over half of them. Some circuits only have one receptacle - and nothing was marked
 
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Old 08-29-19, 03:11 AM
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A spreadsheet works well for this purpose. I print them out on adhesive paper and place on the door.
 
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Old 08-29-19, 03:28 AM
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LIved in my house 18 years and stillhave 4 or 5 breakers I have not found out what they do. Have looked all over house with breaker off and still have not found Outlet or light.
 
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Old 08-29-19, 03:35 AM
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A spreadsheet works well for this purpose.
This is what I have done for my own home and cabin and for some friends and family. My own are in sheet protectors that hang on the front of the panels, one side is laid out exactly like the panel, with breaker numbers, size, and principle items, and the back side has two columns, one sorted by item, like "dining room light", kitchen fan", front porch", etc., and the other column sorted by breaker number with every item on that circuit. Also, as I remember to do it, I mark circuit numbers on the back side of switch and receptacle cover plates when I have them off. Yes, it will take a couple of hours, but any homeowner can and should take the time to identify the circuits.
 
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Old 08-29-19, 08:53 AM
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A picture is worth 1000 words

I use a simple floor plan sketch of each floor showing outlets, lights, and switches with the circuit number for each and if necessary letter designations to show lights or outlets that are controlled by switches. If I make changes I just revise the circuit numbers on the sketch.

This method can be used to identify circuits on an "as you go basis" until the information is complete.
 
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Old 08-29-19, 12:39 PM
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LIved in my house 18 years and stillhave 4 or 5 breakers I have not found out what they do
leave them off and see if the neighbor has an issue! LOL
 
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Old 08-29-19, 12:48 PM
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I have painted a few condos/apartments where some of the circuits crossed over into the next unit. Comes in handy when you are painting a unit that had the power turned off and you find one or so plugs that are still hot.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 09:17 PM
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My suggestions:
Get with a friend and spend time to map out both of your houses. Do this with spouses and children out of the house so they won't be bothered by power getting switched on and off. Use two cell or portable phones so you can talk while you map things out.
Excel can make a good panel box label. Easy to reprint if there are changes.
Use p-touch to make the breaker numbers easier to read.
If you have multiple breaker panels, use a letter number combination to distinguish (e.g. A-1, B-17, C-23, etc.).
Actually map out which breaker serves each receptacle, appliance, or fixture. Again, spreadsheet software can keep it neat. Save that document next to the panel.
Breakers with unknown purpose -- look in attic's crawl spaces, basements for places where an appliance or tool might have been planned.
Also, take the trim off the panel and see if anything is actually connected -- i.e. no cable. A double pole breaker may have been
replaced with a single pole, and a single breaker used in place of a filler strip. Or, a DIYer my have plugged in some breakers
connected to nothing in order to shield the panel buss bars from getting bumped into.
Hint to panel manufacturers: include removable insulators that cover the buss bars, as well as the lug area.
 
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