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Old 04-26-2019, 08:02 PM   #1
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Default Marking a panel after a service change

I strongly believe in marking the panel after a service change even if it means running around the house with a tracer. However, recently I got into a discussion with several AHJs and they said you only have to mark the new circuits if any. In other words you could have 30 circuits that are totally unmarked. That is not how I read NEC 406.4. I know sometimes what should be done is not necessarily what the code says. Anybody have some ammunition that I could fire back to prove my point?
Thank you.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:26 PM   #2
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I’m not at a computer so I can’t look at the code, but I know that it clearly requires all the circuits in the panel to be labeled. So when you install a new panel, you have to label the circuits.

This is a requirement and every inspector that I know of looks for it.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:30 PM   #3
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Let common sense prevail on this one.

If you were a customer that had a service change done, would you expect/want the electrician to label the panel if it wasn't already?

At our shop, we will spend up to about a half hour tracking and labeling a panel afterwards. Sometimes you just can't find where a couple of the circuits went. But, a half hour of labeling usually gets you about 90-95% of the panel labeled and the customers like it. I will sometimes leave off the circuits we can't find after I know it's not the fridge/freezer/something important and let the customer know they need to keep an eye out for something not working, and then label the breaker when they figure out which one it is.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:54 PM   #4
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Let common sense prevail on this one.

If you were a customer that had a service change done, would you expect/want the electrician to label the panel if it wasn't already?

At our shop, we will spend up to about a half hour tracking and labeling a panel afterwards. Sometimes you just can't find where a couple of the circuits went. But, a half hour of labeling usually gets you about 90-95% of the panel labeled and the customers like it. I will sometimes leave off the circuits we can't find after I know it's not the fridge/freezer/something important and let the customer know they need to keep an eye out for something not working, and then label the breaker when they figure out which one it is.

I do the same!
I have found the most common things that I forget to look for right away are:
Dishwasher
Stove vent hood
Outdoor receptacles or 120V circuit to an outbuilding


I now look for these, then if none of the "unknowns" are these, I leave them off and tell the customer to look for something not working like you said.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:13 PM   #5
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You will not get a final without the panel being labeled here in Southern Ca.

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Old 04-27-2019, 06:24 AM   #6
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General outlet

General outlet

General outlet


General outlet

General outlet....

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Old 04-27-2019, 07:12 AM   #7
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General outlet

General outlet

General outlet


General outlet

General outlet....
That doesn't work.

408.4 Field Identification Required.
(A)
Circuit Directory or Circuit Identification. Every circuit
and circuit modification shall be legibly identified as to its
clear, evident, and specific purpose or use. The identification
shall include an approved degree of detail that allows each
circuit to be distinguished from all others. Spare positions that
contain unused overcurrent devices or switches shall be described
accordingly. The identification shall be included in a
circuit directory that is located on the face or inside of the
panel door in the case of a panelboard and at each switch or
circuit breaker in a switchboard or switchgear. No circuit shall
be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions
of occupancy.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:26 AM   #8
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For those of you who leave circuits off, doesn't that worry you? A hidden condensate pump, a sump pump to prevent water from getting into an odd place, an outlet powering a cable TV amplifier tucked away in the attic, a second circuit for smoke detectors, etc. etc.

When I can't find circuits, I will leave them turned on and the label blank if there are 4 or less. I've never had an inspector or homeowner complain about that.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:07 AM   #9
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General outlet

General outlet

General outlet


General outlet

General outlet....

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Molly’s room
Robert’s room
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:15 AM   #10
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This can be a real time eater. I normally trust the existing ID unless it’s a real mess and label anything new I install. Sometimes I will get the HO to help. He walks around the house while I turn breakers on and off.

I went into a newer home once to complete deficiencies left over from the original contractor. You get to the point of diminishing returns. In this instance, the panel directory was blank. Without moving furniture and creating general chaos, there may always be some mystery circuits.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:23 AM   #11
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Molly’s room
Robert’s room
The NEC also says that you can't do that. I have had customers tell me to use words like that, but that doesn't help when someone moves out.

From the code section I posted above: "No circuit shall be described in a manner that depends on transient conditions of occupancy.".

Quote:
This can be a real time eater. I normally trust the existing ID unless it’s a real mess and label anything new I install. Sometimes I will get the HO to help. He walks around the house while I turn breakers on and off.
Agreed. I hate labelling panels. It's just a pain in the ass and it has to be done at the end when all the real work is done and you just want to go home. And I had to spend $800 on a circuit mapper to stop me from having to bring a second guy to label the panel.

If there is a good panel schedule on the old panel I will definitely use it to label the new one, I just put numbers on the wires before I take them off the old breakers. IMO, labelling the panel is worthless. When I need to shut off a circuit I never depend on the panel schedule because it is usually wrong.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:31 AM   #12
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I agree about labeling the panel after a service upgrade, I'm spent and want to go home. I have started to label panel before the upgrade to possibly identify back fed circuits etc. I usually drive ground rods and cut stucco days before i do the upgrade so it's not a big deal to label panel then too.

They give me about 6 hours to do the process and i was stressing doing it all at once so I've adopted this method.


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Old 04-27-2019, 08:34 AM   #13
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I agree about labeling the panel after a service upgrade, I'm spent and want to go home. I have started to label panel before the upgrade to possibly identify back fed circuits etc. I usually drive ground rods and cut stucco days before i do the upgrade so it's not a big deal to label panel then too.

They give me about 6 hours to do the process and i was stressing doing it all at once so I've adopted this method.
Tell me more.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb1jb1 View Post
I strongly believe in marking the panel after a service change even if it means running around the house with a tracer. However, recently I got into a discussion with several AHJs and they said you only have to mark the new circuits if any. In other words you could have 30 circuits that are totally unmarked. That is not how I read NEC 406.4. I know sometimes what should be done is not necessarily what the code says. Anybody have some ammunition that I could fire back to prove my point?
Thank you.
Many years ago, when MH was starting out as a code guru, I went to one of his classes for some CE credits. It was there that he preached that labeling the panel was akin to a signature on your work.

I now sign them as Anonymous.
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:45 AM   #15
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Tell me more.
I've had circuits that were fed from more then one breaker. Somewhere they must have tied into a separate circuit or a 14/3 feeding 2 circuits and put them back on same line. All I know is that the lights and receptacles on circuit 2 would come back on on circuit 4!
All kinds of crazy things i find that i want to address and note when i give final invoice.
This is why I turn one breaker on at a time while all the others are off when labeling a panel. It takes longer but I catch anything before the upgrade.


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Old 04-27-2019, 08:47 AM   #16
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I've had circuits that were fed from more then one breaker. Somewhere they must have tied into a separate circuit or a 14/3 feeding 2 circuits and put them back on same line. All I know is that the lights and receptacles on circuit 2 would come back on on circuit 4!
All kinds of crazy things i find that i want to address and note when i give final invoice.
This is why I turn one breaker on at a time while all the others are off when labeling a panel. It takes longer but I catch anything before the upgrade.
But how do you label the panel before installing it?
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:49 AM   #17
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Unless I’m getting paid for it, I am not in the business of verifying existing circuits. MacDonald’s charges to supersize and I’m no different. I simply can’t be bumbling around at job end identifying circuits especially, like Hack says, at the end of the day when one’s mind is already out the door.

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Old 04-27-2019, 08:49 AM   #18
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I have a note book. When i take the wires off the breaker I label them with numbers that correlate with my schedule on notebook.

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Old 04-27-2019, 08:57 AM   #19
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I have a note book. When i take the wires off the breaker I label them with numbers that correlate with my schedule on notebook.

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Gotcha. That’s the way I do it when there is an existing panel schedule that I’m going to use.
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:10 AM   #20
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I replaced a panel for a guy who not only had every circuit accurately labeled, he had a colour coded plan beside the panel showing every outlet and which circuit controlled them. I put the old circuits in the same locations on the new panel so his plan was still correct.

I even added the few new outlets I installed on the plan for him.
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