Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

Home Electrical Circuit Map

If you own a home, do yourself a favor and make yourself an electrical circuit map. And, do it now, not later when you need it. Countless times, I’ve referred to my map to figure out which circuit breaker I need to turn off so I can work on an outlet, plus, figure out what else in my house will go dead while the breaker is off.

It would suck if all the lighting in your room were out while trying to work on the outlet or fixture. It is also nice to know if you will be turning off the computer, or the DVR recording “Lost”, or the heat… It is no fun to play a guessing games each time.


Start with a rough sketch of your home floor plan, plus a sketch of your circuit breaker box with each circuit logically numbered. Then sketch in every outlet, fixture and switch on the map. Here is a sample of standard symbols you might use.

You will need two people at first to greatly shorten the amount of time it takes to map it all out. Ideally, you would use 2-way radios to communicate. One person stands by the circuit breakers, and the other person has the sketches and something to test the outlets with. I have an outlet tester you can pickup at your local hardware store which not only tells you if you have power, but if the polarity and ground is connected correctly.

Then, one by one, go through each circuit and mark what goes out when the circuit is off. Later, you can redraw the whole thing neater if you like and color code it for easy reading. Lastly, store it in a clear laminate folder next to your circuit breaker so you always know where it is.

mapelec2.jpg mapelec.jpg

It doesn’t have to be as fancy as mine, or you can get fancier. Maybe I just missed using my colored pencils from my college days of drawing comic book super heroes.

You may at some point want to calculate the load on the circuit to see if you are pushing it, or, how far you might be able to expand/extend it. But, I’ll save that for another article if anyone is interested.


April 11, 2007 - Posted by | Home Improvement


  1. work map

    Comment by abdul | September 30, 2008

  2. […] a circuit diagram of the house as it exists […]

    Pingback by Rewire a House - dube.mine.nu | January 6, 2009

  3. hi i am engg. student please send me more information

    Comment by sharad | January 29, 2010

  4. can i get more information

    Comment by Md. Mirajul Mostafa | August 26, 2010

  5. ya

    Comment by Md. Sirajul Mostafa | August 27, 2010

  6. there is a electrical symbol im not fimiliar with its a P with and arrow pointing down

    Comment by Krista | November 18, 2010

  7. I am building a mobile phone app about electrical panels and am planning to add a background image. Would you permit me to use the image on this page – it showes symbols.jpg – it is a cut away of home floor plan. I would give credit to you on my app.


    Comment by Ken Sutcliffe | January 1, 2011

  8. To be an engineering is not easy

    Comment by Tijani rasaq | February 20, 2012

  9. You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most people will go along with with your website.

    Comment by RJL Electrical Ltd. Electrician Ottawa | March 19, 2012

  10. Hello, I am building an online curriculum for my school. I love your electrical plan. Can I have permission to use it as a teaching aid?

    Comment by mbuonocore@yahoo.com | February 21, 2013

  11. I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now 😉

    Comment by wiki.lamanonegra.org | May 2, 2013

  12. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds alsoI am happy to find a lot of useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . . bebdkkdggdbk

    Comment by Johnd40 | May 18, 2014

  13. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think
    this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning
    to read through more, thanks for the information!

    Comment by Enid | August 1, 2014

  14. Did you do the post on how to calculate the load on the circuit?

    Comment by Christine | July 4, 2018

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