How to Color Code Your Circuit Breaker Box

January 13, 2016Holly Sosa

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Living in a small town, our power isn’t super reliable. Whenever we get a wind storm (which in the High Desert is pretty frequently), we can count on a loss of electricity at some point. Factor in that our home also runs on propane for our heating needs, which means we use space heaters much of the time, it means that we are running to our circuit breaker on a regular basis.

Currently, our circuit breaker box has no markers as to which breaker leads to which room. This leads to a whole lot of trial and error, lots of lights flickering on and off, and lots of frustration. So my happy little organizational heart decided to color code the hell out of our circuit breaker box to avoid this in the future…which just means tonight when we turn our space heaters on and the power flickers off.

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To start, my husband and I flipped on every single light, appliance, and electronic we had in the house. He stood in the house as I flipped each breaker and relayed what had turned off as I kept track on a pad of paper. Our mobile home electrical system is comically screwed up, so we had a couple of breakers that did nothing. I jotted those down as unknown until we could get an electrician out to help us decipher them.

Next I went and wrote it all up on a piece of card stock paper to make a key to hang on the inside of the circuit breaker door and added the colored circles next to each one to designate a color. I actually had more breakers than I had colors for, so I simply used some permanent markers to add a symbol to any colors that were doubles.

Then I taped the key to the inside of the door.

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And I taped the color circles to the coordinating breakers with scotch tape. We get loads of dust out here in the desert, so I wanted to secure the stickers with some extra reinforcement.

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And that’s all it took to solve our which-room-is-this-one-for gamble every time we flipped a breaker! If you don’t have circle stickers (they’re rather inexpensive and worth the investment), you could also use washi tape, though I would also secure it with an additional layer of clear scotch tape. And of course, you could always just use numbers, but my brain craves color and patterns, so this is my simple take on circuit breaker organization.

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