How to Replace a Zinsco Breaker


Just like any other electrical component, a circuit breaker can fail and require replacement. Knowing how to replace a circuit breaker is a task that every homeowner should be familiar with. Two major steps are involved in the replacement of the circuit breaker. First, remove the existing breaker and then install the new breaker. Safety is a key when working with electricity in your house. When a breaker has gone bad, change it immediately to avoid the danger of a house fire due to an electrical fire from the circuit breaker.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver, slotted and insulated
  • Wire stripper insulated
  • Needle nose pliers, insulated

Removal of old circuit breaker

  • Locate the breaker you want to replace. Each breaker in the electrical box is for a different circuit within the building. Remove the panel cover with your screwdriver.

  • Turn off the main circuit breaker as a safety precaution when working in the electrical box. This will prevent shocks and damage to other circuits.

  • Use the end of the slotted screwdriver to pry the Zinsco circuit breaker away from the hot bar. The end connected to the hot bar is now free, but the breaker remains attached by the clip on the plastic bar.

  • Unsnap the breaker from the plastic bar. Once the breaker is free, unscrew the hot wire of the circuit from the terminal in the side of the breaker. Dispose of the old breaker.

Installing new circuit breaker

  • Insert the hot wire in the hole in the side of the Zinsco circuit breaker. Tighten the screw firmly.

  • Attach the clip to the plastic bar, and then press firmly on the other end of the breaker to seat it in place for connection to the hot bar.

  • Replace the panel cover. If all work on the circuit is complete, then turn the power back on by flipping the main circuit breaker.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always turn the main power off before working on the electrical box.

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  • Photo Credit electric box, image by Greg Pickens from
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