Electricity has become such a staple in our lives that we often take it for granted. Until something goes wrong, that is. When the worst happens, it’s best to know how to read your circuit breaker electric panel, A.K.A. that little gray metal box in the corner. Here’s what you need to know to navigate the electric panel. 

Find the Box 

Read the Labels 

If they are there, take a long look at the labels on each circuit. Hopefully, someone already labeled them. You’ll find these labels right next to each switch or possibly on the inside of the metal door with numbers matching each switch. These switches could control specific appliances or entire rooms. 

Reading the Label-less Panel 

If your box isn’t labeled, take the time to test and label each switch for future use. The easiest way to test is the guess check. 

  • Switch off all the circuits except one. 
  • Do a house walk-through, checking each light and outlet. Don’t forget a flashlight to help guide you through the dark. 
  • Label each switch as you discover it’s purpose. 

Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker 

While there are a variety of reasons the main breaker can trip, lightning strikes, power surges or an overloaded electrical panel are the main reasons. If you experience this, follow the next steps. 

  1. Turn off all individual circuit breakers. This keeps your home and you safe throughout the process. 
  2. Reset the lever on the main breaker to the ON position. Be sure to stand off to the side when flipping the lever for safety reasons. 
  3. Once you’ve reset the main breaker lever, turn on each individual circuit one at a time. This prevents you from dumping large amounts of power on the main breaker at once. 

Remember always practice electrical safety when turning on and off circuit breakers. Still have questions about your circuit breaker? Give us a call. We’re here to support you with licensed and trained electricians.