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Label a distribution board

We take electricity for granted and use it every day. Labelling a main distribution board is important for in an emergency situation or when you need to switch off power outlets.


Every home is fitted with a distribution board and it is critical that you understand its purpose so as to be well prepared in an emergency. The distribution is wired directly to the electricity supply and is designed to offer you safety options for managing and controlling electrical distribution within a home. Know the layout of your distribution board and labelling appropriately ensures that you are well prepared in the event of an emergency, or when you need to swtich off electrical supply to a particular power outlet or room.

We have already looked at the importance of regularly testing the Earth Leakage Switch. The next step towards understanding a home distribution board is to label each switch on the board.

Label a Distribution Board
Draw a rough diagram, or use your house plans, to show the various power outlets in the home. Name each outlet to correspond to the main appliances used in this outlet. For example: Where you plug in the kettle, where the washing machine or tumble dryer is plugged in, and so on. Don’t forget to include items such as the pool pump, security system, outdoor lighting, etc.

If you still have the original house plans this makes labelling easier as all power outlets and light switches should be already on the plan and you can mark each outlet for labelling a distribution board.

On the main distribution board click all plug switches to the OFF position. Working one switch at a time, put the first switch ON and walk around the house with a small appliance, perhaps a hairdryer, to test each power outlet. As you determine which power outlets correspond with a switch on the main distribution board, mark this on your diagram. In this way you will have an accurate indication for the location of each power outlet associated with a specific plug switch on the main board.

Having a labelled distribution board will save you time and money should a fault occur. Knowing which particular switch is tripping narrows down the time spent searching for a problem and will cut down on the cost of fault-finding in the event that you need to call a qualified electrician.


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