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What are the code requirements for a circuit directory and circuit identification for an electric panel?
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Up until the latest edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the 2017, the requirements at 408.4 were as follows:
- Every circuit must be legibly identified to its specific purpose or use.
- The identification must be sufficient to distinguish it from all others. In other words, a cluster of 120-volt circuits all called “general purpose,” or “receptacles,” or something like that is not acceptable.
- The circuit directory must be located on the face of panel or inside of the panel door
- Unused (spare) breakers should also be identified.
The 2017 NEC added these additional requirements, but they do not apply to residential construction (one- or two-family dwellings):
- Marking must be permanent, permanently affixed, and durable enough to withstand the environment where located.
- Not handwritten.
Anyone who has ever struggled to read a loose, yellowed and tattered paper circuit directory, written in a faded, hard-to-read scrawl, with things scratched-out and overwritten, hanging by a single piece of tape on the inside of a panel door, will appreciate the reason for this code citation.
Also, see our blog posts Can an unused (spare) circuit breaker remain in an electrical panel or does it have to be removed? and What is the maximum number of circuit breakers allowed in an electric panel? and What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker (OCPD) above the floor?
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