Any time electrical work or maintenance is done in your home, you will need to shut off one or more circuit breakers. If you don’t, you’ll be working with live circuits that can lead to deadly consequences. For this reason, you must know exactly which one(s) to turn off. The electrical panel in your home should have a clear listing of which circuit corresponds with which area of the home. If you have moved into a new home, you will have no doubts that the information is correct. But what if you are your home’s second or third owner? What if the information is missing or you think it might be incorrect? You may have to “map” your electrical panel to ensure the information is correct to avoid any electrical disasters in the future. The process of mapping the electrical panel in your home will verify what is connected to each circuit by shutting the breakers down one at a time. With a partner and a few items, you can accurately map your homes electrical panel in about an hour and post the new information knowing that it is correct.
How Do Electrical Circuits Work?
Circuits are called circuits because the voltage carried by electrical wiring travels a circuitous path from the electrical panel to the outlet and back again. This hot wire carries electricity from the breaker box to the outlets, light fixtures and the appliances or devices in a certain area of the home. The neutral wire carries it back. If you turn a circuit breaker off, it interrupts the circuit and makes that area safe to work on. Oftentimes, you will find these breakers labeled as “family room” or “master bedroom”.
Map One Circuit Breaker at a Time
Have your partner stand at the panel while you walk through the house and use cell phones to communicate. Label the circuit breakers with permanent marker if they are not clearly numbered before you start. When you walk through the house have a pen, notepad and an outlet tester. An outlet tester will light up when it is inserted into a live outlet. Before you start, turn on all the lights, electronics and appliances. Have your partner shut off one breaker at a time. When one breaker is flipped you should look for deactivated lights, appliances and electronics. Use the outlet tester to check the outlets. Don’t forget the outdoor lights if you don’t find any power cut off inside. Each time you identify what’s on a circuit, make notes.
Create Your Home Electrical Wiring Map
Once you have collected all your information it’s time to make your circuit map. Create a numbered list with a detailed descriptions of the rooms, outlets, fixtures and major appliances connected to each circuit. You could also create a digital map marking the location and number of every electrical source. Print your map, place it in a plastic sleeve and attach it to the door. This makes it easy to replace and will keep it clean and dry.
Electrical Wiring Services in Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Southbury, Stamford, CT & Fairfield County, Connecticut
Even if you’ve never pulled a breaker switch in your electrical panel; mapping circuits is a safe and simple task that any homeowner can handle. If you discover anything odd during the process, contact Sentry Electric to complete the job and solve all of your electrical problems.