How to Replace GFI With a Regular Breaker

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Replacing a GFI or GFCI, also known as ground fault interrupt or ground fault circuit interrupt, breaker is a lot like changing a normal circuit breaker, with a couple of exceptions. The main difference is that normal circuit breakers do not have neutral wires to attach to the breaker's main buss bar. With the proper planning and attention to safety, nearly anyone can replace a GFI breaker with a normal one.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Electrical gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Put your safety glasses and electrical gloves on.

  • Open the breaker box's main door. This may require the removal of one or more screws depending on the design of your breaker box.

  • Locate the main power switch and disengage it into the "Off" or "Open" position.

  • Locate the specific GFI breaker you wish to replace.

  • Locate the white wire coming from the GFI circuit breaker you wish to replace and follow it to the mounting point on the breaker box's buss bar.

  • Locate the screw holding the exposed end of the white wire in place and loosen it to allow for removal of the wire.

  • Remove the white wire from the buss bar by pulling it out of the mounting hole.

  • Locate the black wire that is connected to the GFI breaker you wish to remove.

  • Unscrew the screw holding the black wire in place and pull out the wire.

  • Pull out the GFI breaker. This may require some effort as these breakers are held in place by friction.

  • Insert the normal breaker into the now open breaker slot. Make sure it is off before putting it in place.

  • Insert the black wire underneath the mounting screw on the normal breaker. This screw will hold the wire in place in the same manner the GFI breaker did.

  • Tighten the screw to allow for a firm hold on the black wire. Do not over tighten the screw so much that the wire is forced out from underneath the screw's head.

  • Engage the normal breaker into the "On" or "Open" position.

  • Engage the main breaker power switch into the "On" or "Open" position.

  • Close the breaker box and replace any screws previously removed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even with the main power switch off, there are large amounts of electrical current within a breaker box. Always ensure you know exactly what you are doing and that you are doing it in the safest manner possible. If at any time you are unsure of yourself while performing this procedure, seek the advice of an electrician.

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