How to Label Your Electrical Equipment

blog author iconColton Rossiter
date icon2023 / 04 / 29
blog views icon212
How to Label Your Electrical Equipment

Creating accurate single line diagrams is an essential part of designing, operating, and maintaining electrical systems. In order to create a single line diagram, all equipment must be accurately labeled with correct IDs and information about where it is being fed from and where it is feeding to.




However, inaccurate, or outdated equipment IDs can make the creation of single line diagrams difficult or impossible.

To ensure that your equipment IDs are accurate and up-to-date, there are several steps you can take. By doing so, you can help improve safety, efficiency, compliance, communication, and maintenance in your facility.

  1. Safety: Accurate and consistent labeling of equipment can help prevent accidents by providing clear information about the equipment's function, voltage, and other important details. This information is critical for electricians and maintenance personnel to work safely around electrical equipment.
  2. Efficiency: Good equipment labeling can help improve efficiency by making it easier for electricians and maintenance personnel to quickly identify equipment and its location. This can save time during maintenance and troubleshooting activities.
  3. Compliance: Proper labeling of equipment can help ensure compliance with safety standards and regulations, including CSA, OSHA and the National Electric Code (NEC). Compliance with these standards can help prevent accidents and minimize liability.
  4. Communication: Clear and consistent equipment labeling can help improve communication between electricians and maintenance personnel, as well as with other departments and contractors. This can help prevent misunderstandings and mistakes.
  5. Maintenance: Accurate equipment labelling can help ensure that equipment is maintained properly and on schedule. This can help extend the lifespan of the equipment and prevent downtime due to equipment failure.
  6. Creating Single Line Diagrams: Good ID labeling of equipment makes it easier to create accurate and detailed single line diagrams. These diagrams provide a simplified representation of the electrical system, allowing electricians and maintenance personnel to quickly identify equipment and its interconnections. This helps to streamline troubleshooting and maintenance activities, reducing downtime and improving overall system reliability.

Now that we have understood the advantages of having excellent equipment labeling, let's explore the necessary steps to attain it.

Review and Update Existing Equipment IDs

The first step to getting your equipment IDs in shape is to conduct a thorough review of your existing equipment IDs. Check to see if any equipment IDs are outdated or incorrect and update them as needed. Ensure that all labeling is consistent across all equipment and that there is no ambiguity in any labeling.

Review and Update Existing Equipment IDs

In order to confirm whether an SLD connection is correct or not, you should use a cable tracing tool. By using a toner probe and a cable tracer, the user can trace the cable and check for continuity with a multimeter. However, it is important to refer to the manufacturer's instructions for the specific cable tracer being used to ensure proper usage and accuracy.

Establish a New Labeling System

If your existing labeling system is not working, it may be time to establish a new labeling system. A clear and consistent naming convention for equipment IDs is essential to ensure that everyone can understand and use the labels.

Common Naming Conventions:

Here are some examples of the most common electrical equipment ID naming conventions we have encountered:

  • Sequential numbering: This convention involves assigning a unique number to each piece of electrical equipment in sequential order, such as E-001, E-002, E-003, and so on.
    • Pros: Easy to implement, provides a unique identifier for each piece of equipment, and allows for easy tracking of new equipment as it is added to the system.
    • Cons: Does not provide any information about the equipment itself and can become difficult to manage if a large number of pieces of equipment is involved.

    Sequential Numbering

  • Location-based naming: This convention involves naming electrical equipment based on their physical location in the facility, such as the equipment in Room 101 might be named E-101-1, E-101-2, E-101-3, and so on.
    • Pros: Provides information about the location of the equipment, which can be helpful for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes.
    • Cons: Can become complicated if the facility has a large number of rooms and may not provide a unique identifier for each piece of equipment.
  • Manufacturer or vendor-specific naming: This convention involves using the manufacturer or vendor's naming convention for their equipment. For example, a manufacturer might use a code such as GE for General Electric, and then a unique identifier for each piece of equipment produced.
    • Pros: Can be helpful if the manufacturer's or vendor's naming convention is well-known and can provide additional information about the equipment.
    • Cons: May not be universally recognized or understood and may not provide a unique identifier for each piece of equipment.

    Manufacturer or Vendor-Specific Naming

  • Equipment type-based naming: This convention involves using abbreviations or codes for the type of equipment, followed by a unique identifier for each piece of equipment. For example, a circuit breaker might be labeled as CB-001, a motor as M-001, and a transformer as T-001.
    • Pros: Provides information about the type of equipment and makes it easy to identify specific types of equipment at a glance.
    • Cons: May not provide a unique identifier for each piece of equipment and may become difficult to manage if a large number of equipment pieces is involved.

    Equipment Type-Based Naming

Choosing the best electrical equipment ID naming convention will depend on the specific needs of the facility. However, a combination of sequential numbering and equipment type-based naming may be the most effective, as it provides a unique identifier for each piece of equipment while also providing information about the type of equipment.

Additionally, using a standardized naming convention that is easy to understand and manage can help ensure consistency and accuracy in the system.

If you want to go beyond the basics, many sites will even provide details about the source of the equipment and its destination, if applicable. This could increase efficiency and allow workers to rely less heavily on a single line diagram.

Good Example:

Choosing the Best Electrical Equipment ID

Keeping Neat Panel Schedules

Keeping neat panel schedules is important for maintaining electrical safety and ensuring that work can be done efficiently. A panel schedule is a document that shows the circuit breaker or fuse assignments and their corresponding loads. It is typically located on the inside of the electrical panel door or on a separate piece of paper or label.

To keep panel schedules neat and organized, it is important to follow a few guidelines:

  1. Use a computer to create the panel schedule, rather than handwriting it. This will ensure that the information is clear and easy to read.
  2. Use consistent formatting, including font type and size, and alignment. This will make the panel schedule easier to understand and navigate.
  3. Keep the panel schedule up-to-date. As changes are made to the electrical system, such as adding or removing circuits, update the panel schedule to reflect these changes.
  4. Keep the panel schedule visible and accessible. If it is located on the inside of the electrical panel door, make sure the door is always closed when not in use so that the schedule is protected from damage.

By following these guidelines, you can create a neat and organized panel schedule that will help you work more safely and efficiently.

Poor Example:

Creating Organized Panel Schedule: Bad Example

Good Example:

Creating Organized Panel Schedule: Good Example

Create a Labeling Plan

Once you have established a new labeling system, it is important to create a plan for labeling all equipment in the facility. Include a schedule for when labeling will occur and who will be responsible for labeling. Ensure that all labeling is done in a timely and consistent manner to avoid confusion.

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Train Personnel on New Labeling System

It is essential that all relevant personnel are trained on the new labeling system to ensure that everyone understands the importance of accurate equipment labeling. Provide training to all relevant personnel, including maintenance staff and electricians, to ensure that everyone is familiar with the new system.

The specific training required for personnel to implement a new labeling system may vary depending on the complexity of the system and the equipment being labeled. However, some common training topics may include:

  • Understanding the purpose and benefits of equipment labeling
  • Familiarization with the new labeling system and its components
  • Identifying equipment and determining appropriate labeling requirements
  • Proper application of labels to equipment
  • Maintenance and upkeep of the labeling system
  • Safety procedures related to labeling and electrical work.

In addition, training should be ongoing to ensure that all personnel remain knowledgeable and up-to-date on the labelling system and any changes or updates that may occur.

Maintain Equipment Labeling

Regularly review and update equipment labeling as needed. Ensure that new equipment is labeled as soon as it is installed, and that any changes to the system are reflected in the labelling. By maintaining accurate equipment labeling, you can ensure that your single line diagrams are always up-to-date and accurate.

To ensure that staff keeps up with the labels, you can implement a labeling maintenance program. You can assign a specific team or individual to be responsible for equipment labeling maintenance and create a schedule for regular inspections and updates.

Additionally, you can provide reminders and training to staff to reinforce the importance of maintaining accurate labeling and encourage them to report any labeling issues or changes to the maintenance team.


Accurate equipment labeling is essential for creating single line diagrams. By reviewing and updating existing equipment IDs, establishing a new labeling system, creating a labeling plan, training personnel on the new system, and maintaining equipment labeling, you can ensure that your equipment IDs are in shape and ready for creating accurate single line diagrams.

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