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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    29

    Red face "circuit breaker panel schedule"

    The main panel and subpanels in the old house I'm purchasing are not labeled in any way, and I need lots of electrical work done (detailed in my other post https://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?t=117957 ). I'd like to save an electrician's time (and hopefully some money) by making a very basic "circuit breaker panel schedule" of some sort. By which I mean, figuring out which circuits are connected to what. There are only 3 circuits powering the entire house right now.

    Can I figure out which circuit goes to which outlets/fixtures by just shutting off that breaker and testing each outlet/hardwired light/fixture by plugging something in and turning it on?? -TotalN00B

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    711

    Default Re: "circuit breaker panel schedule"

    That's what I would do.

    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon , http://thesemi-retiredelectrician.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,533

    Default Re: "circuit breaker panel schedule"

    Yes you can, and labeling the breakers is a good idea.
    Just get yourself a small tester, the kind you can plug in with a light. It will make your "testing" a lot easier.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: "circuit breaker panel schedule"

    I'd use a radio you can plug in. When the radio goes silent, you know that you've unscrewed the fuse to the circuit the radio is plugged into without having to climb up or down stairs. When you go to move the radio to a new location, check all the light switches, electrical outlets and ceiling fans in that area to see if any of them are on the same circuit.

    Also, keep in mind that 220 volt appliances, like electric stoves, electric clothes dryers and central air conditioners will have TWO fuses or breakers instead of just one. Normally, older electrical panels will have a "fuse holder" for the stove which holds two 40 or 50 amp fuses, and by removing that fuse holder you remove both cartridge style fuses simultaneously. However, if someone added an electric dryer to a house that was built before such things existed, then they may have put in a pair of 30 amp screw-in fuses anywhere in that panel. Nowadays, electrical wiring codes require that breakers for the same 220 VAC appliance use a "double breaker" or be "ganged" together so you can't trip one breaker to a 220 Volt appliance without tripping them both. But, in an older house with multiple previous owners, and nothing inspected by anyone, there's no telling what was done.
    Last edited by Nestor; 06-18-2011 at 04:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: "circuit breaker panel schedule"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestor View Post
    I'd use a radio you can plug in.<snip>
    Be sure it doesn't automatically switch to batteries when the power drops out or you'll go nuts trying to find the right fuse/breaker!

    Phil

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