Saturday, May 15, 2021

Upgrading the labels in my breaker-box


Our house was built in the mid-1970s.

The label on the inside of the breaker-box door was yellowing and the handwriting was never all that great.

I decided to upgrade. It was one of those quick projects I could execute before heading off to Mom's for the day.

I printed it in 14pt Verdana Bold. Then I laminated it between a couple of clear sheets of sticky plastic.

The door fell off as I was attempting to tape it into place.

No problem. It was easier to work on off-the-junction box.

I reinstalled the door. Went upstairs and noticed that our security camera monitors were dark.

I tried a couple more circuits and found another that was dead.

Trotting back down the stairs, I saw that three of the breakers on the left side of the box had been tripped when I put the cover back on. Easy fix, right? I flipped the three breakers to the "On" position and went back up the stairs sure I had solved the problem.

Still no joy. The monitors were still dark and it was time to go to Mom's to relieve the previous caregiver.

On the way home, I swung by Menards and purchased a couple of breakers in case I had fried them. Unfortunately, I did not have an example with me so I bought two of the more common types.

Once home, I put on my head-light and grabbed my handi-dandy multitester. The lead coming into the left side of the panel read 124V.

The first breaker, one that I knew had tripped read zero. I cycled the breaker and made sure it had cycled on. I also pressed it to make sure the clevis had firmly engaged the tab on the breaker-bar. The last part was just for show as the surface of the breaker was even with the others.

Still no joy.

Then I worked my way down the row of breakers on the left side of the box. All DEAD!

I checked a couple on the right side. They read 124V so it was not a case of my multi-tester being dead.

What a puzzler.

That is when my eyes focused on the actual writing on the faulty breakers.

I had not tripped three breakers when I reinstalled the breaker-box cover, I had tripped seven of them. When I toggled the three I had turned them off.

Fixing the problem involved turning the breakers on the left side of the box from "Off" to "On".

As a last resort, read the directions....or the labels on the part.

Now I need to find some screws to ensure the cover doesn't jump off the box again.


  1. Obviously,the new label that you installed, with the two layers of plastic lamination, is too thick and caused your breakers to be turned off.
    Just kidding...

  2. No good deed goes unpunished.

  3. My breaker box has a signature dated August 20th 1961 in the same pencil that the label was written in, obviously now illegible. To enhance my joy, at some point all the deemed "vital" circuits were routed through an auxillary box with a severely non-automatic transfer switch to a long departed generator. There's a kill switch to the boiler at the top of the basement stairs that some clown tapped to add outlets now powering the fridge, and on a separate wall a microwave. There are a three gang and four gang switches in the kitchen/dining room each with two dead switches.

    I believe the reason property deeds are public records is to enable you to track down previous owners so that justice may be done unto them, their heirs and assigns, down unto seven generations,

    1. I just want to find the idiot electrician who worked on my house. I don't think any of the things I've found can be the fault of previous owners.


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