Electrical Panel Labels 

Does every breaker in an electrical panel need to be labled? Find out the answer from an electrical inspector.

Question: Does the electrical code require that electrical panel circuit breakers be labeled?


Absolutely. There is no gray area here. Labeling a new electrical panel only takes a few minutes. Tracing circuits and labeling an existing panel is a task that is best done with two people and could take hours. A complete directory helps to ensure the safe operation of the electrical system, especially in an emergency. The code requires that every circuit and circuit modification be legibly identified as to its clear, evident and specific purpose or use. The identification must be included in a circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the panel door. The circuit directory must be durable enough to withstand the environment in which it is located.

Each label identification must contain a degree of detail that distinguishes it from all other circuits. Even spare, unused circuit breakers must be identified. And don’t create personal labels such as “Mary’s Bedroom” that will have no meaning to the next family that owns the home.

Always check with your local electrical inspector about the specific code requirements in your area.

Question Answered by John Williamson, Chief Electrical Inspector, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

John Williamson has been in the electrical industry for 40 years and is a licensed master electrician and certified building official. John has worked for the state of Minnesota for over 23 years and is the Chief Electrical Inspector. For the past 25 years, John has also provided electrical code consultation to various book and magazine publishers

Do you have a question that you would like our electrical inspector to answer? Email us at [email protected]