Everything You Need to Know About How to Replace a Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are a modern marvel of electrical safety.

But even with all the overload protection that these devices offer, they’re still not 100% perfect. Some breakers are defective, others are too old, and others still may be damaged in the line of duty, so to speak.

This quick guide will give you everything you need to know about how to replace a circuit breaker, so you can rest easy knowing your home is safe again.

Step 1: Test Your Breaker

Testing your circuit breakers periodically is an integral part of ensuring that your home is electrically safe.

And if you find that your circuit breaker keeps tripping or isn’t resetting, the very first step you should take is to test out whether the breaker is working.

This step is crucial. After all, the entire point of having a circuit breaker in the first place is as a safety measure.

If you’re sure the breaker is kaput, then it’s time to replace it permanently.

Step 2: Get a New Circuit Breaker

The second step of how to replace a circuit breaker is finding a replacement.

It’s best to replace your old circuit with the same brand, type, and size. Not having the correctly-rated breaker may lead to a host of safety issues and may cause a number of other problems over time as well.

Step 3: Remove the Breaker Panel Cover

In order to get to the defective breaker, you must first remove the main panel cover. This process may seem relatively simple, but there are a few important safety considerations to take before doing so.

In the first place, you’ll want to don the appropriate apparel including insulated lineman’s gloves and a rubber mat for added insulation. You’ll also want to use insulated tools throughout the entire process.

Before getting started, you should also inspect the panel for any damage including rust, heat damage, or any discoloration. These could be signs an underlying (and dangerous) electrical issue. If you do notice these signs, call a qualified electrician immediately.

If everything looks good, shut off the main power entirely and remove the panel cover, usually done by unscrewing a few screws.

Step 4: Removing the Old Breaker

Removing the old breaker is quite simple. They’re usually locked in place and can be pried loose pretty easily.

You can then unscrew the connector that’s holding the wire in place, also known as the load terminal. This will allow you to remove the wire completely and effectively remove the breaker from the circuit. 

Step 5: Inserting the New Breaker

Finally, you can install the new breaker by inserting the wire into the same area and screwing in the terminal so that it comes in contact with the uninsulated portion of the wire. Tighten the terminals with a screwdriver only so as not to damage any of the wires. Then, just snap the new breaker into place.

And there you have it! All that’s left now is putting the panel cover back on and engaging the main power.

5 Easy Steps on How to Replace a Circuit Breaker

Following these five steps should have your new circuit breaker up and running in no time at all.

As with any electrical work though, it’s important that you adhere to proper home electrical safety guidelines throughout the process.

With a brand-new circuit breaker at your disposal, you can be sure that you and your family are safe and secure from any electrical overloads and fires.

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