We bought a home a few months ago, and the electrical panel (and subpanel) are completely unlabelled. We have no way, short of flipping breakers, to know what breaker powers which fixtures. Is there a better way to map a home's electrical system so that I can label the breakers?
I use a circuit finder, like this:
It requires a little finesse, but not too much.
When we first bought our current home, I made a careful map of every light switch, every outlet. I simply shut off each breaker in turn, then went around with a test plug. Any outlet or switch that was now dead, I marked on my hand-drawn map of each room in the house, noting the number of the breaker it ran through. This map is frequently handy. Whenever I need to do any electrical work, I simply pull out the appropriate page of my map. It cost me only an hour or so to do, and was well worth the time invested.
I have seen, for those who want a faster solution, inexpensive tools to trace a circuit back to the relevant circuit breaker. I tried one some years ago, and it did not work terribly well. Perhaps they have improved since.