You Can Replace Your Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are integral to maintaining safety in a home’s electrical system. They ensure that if there’s an overload of electricity or similar electrical fault, the flow of electricity to an appliance will be halted before it can result in a fire or dangerous electric shock.

circuit breakerBecause circuit breakers are relatively sturdy little devices, it doesn’t always make sense to assume that the circuit breaker is the problem when you have some kind of electrical issue. However, the breaker will need to be replaced if it trips extremely easily, doesn’t trip when it should, can’t be reset, is hot to the touch, or looks and smells burnt.

If things don’t seem to be adding up and you’re not sure what the problem is or how to fix it, you might just want to call up an electrician. Electricity is extremely dangerous, especially when you’re working with a faulty system, and it’s better to leave it to the professionals than to risk harm.

If you feel confident that the issue is a faulty circuit and you’re ready to replace the breaker, here’s how:

First, you’ll need to collect a range of tools including a new circuit breaker (be sure it’s the same brand, make, model and size as the one that you’re replacing!), a rubber mat or plywood to stand on (this allows you to be insulated from potential electric shocks), an insulated flashlight or independent light source, an insulated screw driver, insulated wire strippers, cable connectors to connect the circuit breaker to the main panel, and a voltage tester to check your work once you’re completed your tasks.

Once you have everything you need to safely proceed with the fix, you’re ready to begin replacing your circuit breaker.

Begin by shutting off the branch circuit breakers one at a time. Shut off the main circuit breaker once you’ve finished with the branch circuit breakers. Test all the wires with a voltage tester to make sure the they’re dead before you go any further than this step.

circuit breaker2Now you’re ready to remove the panel cover and disconnect the wire of the breaker you’re removing from the load terminal. Carefully pry out the old breaker, paying careful attention to how it’s positioned, and insert the new breaker into the correct position. Attach the circuit’s wire to the load terminal and strip a bit of the insulation off the wires if necessary to do so. Inspect the panel for any other problems are inconsistencies that might imply that you messed something up. Tighten any loose terminals, etc.

Now you can replace the panel cover, turn on the main breaker, turn on the branch breakers one by one and test the breakers with the voltage tester to make sure everything is in order.

If you’re still having any issues, test all the electrical appliances in your home to see if one of them might be causing it. If even then you cannot locate the problem, you’ll have to bite the bullet and call up an electrician.

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