How To Replace A Circuit Breaker

How To Replace Circuit Breaker And What Is Circuit Breaker 

How To Replace Circuit Breaker It’s a straightforward procedure to replace an old circuit breaker in the main circuit breaker box with a new matching breaker, but it’s best left to the pros. Only the circuit’s hot wires are connected to circuit breakers. Because the neutral and ground wires are already attached to the neutral/ground bus bars when replacing a circuit breaker, the only connections that need to be changed are the hot wires. Depending on the type of circuit, these connections vary: One hot wire is used in single-pole circuits, and two hot wires are used in double-pole circuits. Using the correct type of circuit breaker for the circuit and the main service panel is one of the most important rules when replacing a circuit breaker (breaker box).

How To Replace Circuit Breaker
How To Replace Circuit Breaker

Is It Necessary to Replace Your Circuit Breaker?

A licenced electrician is required to replace a circuit breaker. Although it is not a difficult project, there are several things that might go wrong, including electrocution and leaving your property vulnerable to fire threats. Circuit breakers safeguard your wiring (and your property) from overloads, therefore badly put breakers can be extremely dangerous. Furthermore, any work performed inside the service panel with the breaker box cover (also known as the dead front cover) removed exposes the worker to lethal current from the utility service connections.

How to Choose the Correct Breaker

The function of all circuit breakers is the same, however they are not interchangeable. Breakers are built expressly for usage in various panels, and there are many different manufacturers of service panels and breakers. Breakers must be of the correct type and have the same amperage and voltage ratings as the circuit wiring they are protecting, in addition to brand and model compatibility. A 15-amp breaker is required on a circuit designed for that use. When a 20-amp breaker is installed on a 15-amp circuit, a major fire hazard arises.

How To Replace Circuit Breaker
How To Replace Circuit Breaker

The safest way to choose a new breaker is to utilise the same brand, breaker model, voltage, and amperage specifications as the original. While some breakers claim to be compatible with panels from other manufacturers, it’s preferable to stick with the same brand and model of circuit breaker. It’s also worth noting that not all breakers from the same company are compatible with all of their panels. It’s better to contact the company directly if you have any questions.

To give further safety protection to an entire circuit, one adjustment that is commonly done with a replacement breaker is to replace a normal breaker with a GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) or an AFCI (arc-fault circuit-interrupter).

WARNING.. The utility service wires that enter the service panel and link to the service lugs (terminals) within the panel are always hot, which means they contain dangerous live voltage and current. Turning off the main breaker on the panel turns off all branch circuits, but not the service lines or their connecting lugs. The only person who can turn off the power in a home’s service lines is the utility company.

How To Replace Circuit Breaker2

What is a Circuit Breaker and How Do You Replace It?

This is how an electrician replaces a 120-volt or 240-volt circuit breaker in a home. Before touching any wires or wire connections, the worker must first turn off the main circuit breaker and check for voltage. When working inside a panel, electricians use insulated tools as a standard precaution.

  • Step 1: Disconnect the main power supply.

Cut power to all branch circuits by opening the service panel door and turning off the main circuit breaker. This does not, however, turn off the electricity to the utility service lugs inside the panel.

  • Remove the Panel Cover in Step 2.

Remove the dead front cover from the panel box by loosening the screws holding it in place. To reveal the breakers and panel wiring, lift the cover away from the box. Inside the panel, don’t touch anything.

  • Step 3: Determine the strength of the device.

At one of the double-pole breakers, check for voltage: Check to see if the circuit breaker is on. One probe of a neon circuit tester, voltage tester, or multimeter should be placed on the neutral bus bar, and the other probe should be placed on each of the hot terminals on the double-pole breaker one by one. The tester should read zero on both hot terminals, indicating that the panel’s hot bus bars are both turned off.

How To Replace Circuit Breaker3

  • Remove the Old Breaker in Step 4

To release the breaker from the tab on the bus bar, grasp the inside and outside edges of the breaker to be changed and rotate it toward the exterior of the panel. To remove the breaker from its slot, slide the breaker’s outside edge out of the retaining clip on the panel. The configuration of the breaker and the fastening methods may vary.

Pull the hot circuit wire from each terminal by loosening the screw terminals on the breaker. One hot wire exists in single-pole breakers (usually coloured black). There are two hot wires in a double-pole breaker (one black and one red or white). Make sure the cables’ bare ends do not come into contact with anything in the breaker box.

  • Installation of the New Breaker (Step 5)

Check the termination of each hot wire for damage or scorch marks, and check sure it’s clean, bare copper. Trim any damaged insulation to about 1/2 inch and restrip it if required (or as directed by the breaker manufacturer).

Each hot wire should be inserted into a hot terminal on the new breaker and securely tightened. The wire insulation should be near to but not under the terminal.

Connect the second hot wire to the other breaker terminal for a double-pole breaker; the two terminals can be interchanged, but it’s recommended to stick to the original breaker’s arrangement.

Place the breaker’s outer edge into the panel’s retaining clip, then twist and press the breaker’s inside edge against the hot bus tab until it snaps into place. The new breaker should be flush with the other breakers in the circuit. Make that the hot wire (or wires) of the breaker is securely tucked around the breaker box’s border.


  • 6th Step: Finish the Job

Replace the panel cover, and secure it using the screws that came with it. To re-energize the panel, turn on the main breaker after turning off all of the branch circuit breakers. Restore electricity to each individual circuit by turning on the branch breakers one by one. The panel door should be closed.


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