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Creating A Breaker Panel You Can Live With in Atlanta


Every home has a breaker panel, also known as the main service panel, which controls the circuit for every permanent electrical device in your house. When you need to shut off the power to a circuit for repair work, or reset a breaker that has tripped, you have to find the right breaker for the circuit. And depending on the age of the breaker panel and who has worked on it in the past, you might find the process challenging at best.

If you’ve already discovered the nightmare that exists within your main service panel, it might be time to make some changes to ensure your next emergency doesn’t have to be a confusing process. There are plenty of ways to create a functional breaker panel and improve one that was poorly made.

1. Make It Permanent

Open up some breaker panels, and you’ll find old pieces of masking tape fluttering to the ground. Or maybe small sheets of paper tucked inside, with the writing long since faded away. If you label every circuit in a clear and permanent way, you’ll never have a question about functionality. You can create labels using a label maker. Print out a grid and laminate it or place it in a protective sleeve. Or use permanent marker and write directly on the panel.

2. Use Proper Names

You might know it’s Mary’s bedroom. But what about the family who lives there after you? Be descriptive with your labels and ensure anyone – whether they live in your home or not – will understand. Master bedroom, southwest bedroom, and kitchen all work when someone peers into the breaker panel in an emergency situation.

3. Map Your Circuits

While some circuits control rooms or zones in your home, other circuits may be dedicated to one individual appliance. If you’ve switched off a circuit and your refrigerator no longer works, you’ve found a dedicated circuit. Many circuits throughout the home are set up this way because of the power draw they use when in operation. Map out every circuit for what zone and room it powers, and also for the amp rating for the circuit. Common amp ratings for various appliances are:

  • Kitchen outlets – 20 amp
  • Oven/range – 30 to 50 amp
  • Dryer – 30 amp
  • Microwave – 20 amp
  • Bathroom vent fan – 15 amp

Dedicated circuits will control one item; other circuits will control rooms or zones. After turning off a circuit, test to find out what is controlled by each circuit. While large appliances are often marked, you can use a non-contact voltage tester to determine each outlet. Simply put the probe of the tester into each outlet slot to see if it still has power. Transfer your finding to your map.

Electricians in Atlanta

With your map in place, your next maintenance project or power outage will be easier than ever. If you still have questions and live in the Atlanta area, call R.S. Andrews now!

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