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Do electrical panels have to be labeled?
Friday, April 24, 2020
Electrical panel circuits are required to be clearly labeled by the National Electrical Code (NEC 408.4) 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.
Also, these additional requirements apply only to commercial (not one-and two-family residential) construction:
- 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 post What is the code required clearance in front of an electric panel?
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