How to Replace a 15 AMP Circuit Breaker

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15 amp circuit breaker
15 amp circuit breaker (Image: Gene Tencza)

Learn how to replace a 15 amp circuit breaker on your electric service panel.

Things You'll Need

  • New circuit breaker (available from a hardware or building supplies store)
  • Screwdriver
  • Flashlight

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Open the door to the service panel and turn off the main circuit breaker.

The door to the service panel exposes only the toggles of the switches. Remove the entire front of the panel by unscrewing the screws that attach it to the box.

The switches can be on the left or right of the center of the box. Locate the switch you wish to remove and disconnect the black wire from it by loosening the set screw on the output side, shown on the left side of this switch. Your switch might be oriented the other way.

Showing the set screw
Showing the set screw

Remove the switch by prying it away from the center of the box. It will pull out and away from the center and pivot toward the side where the wire is. Observe carefully how it unhooks from its pivot.

Hook the set screw side of the switch into the panel and snap the switch into place by rotating it toward the center of the box. The notch at the bottom (on the side opposite the wire) snaps into the "live" bussbar at the center of the panel.

The input side of the switch
The input side of the switch

Insert the wire on the output side and tighten the set screw.

Reinstall the front of the service panel with screws in the corners as required.

Turn on the main circuit breaker and turn on your new switch. Close the door to the panel

Tips & Warnings

  • Have someone hold your flashlight for you. All of the lights in the room will go out when you turn off the main breaker.
  • Nerver turn the main breaker back on until the front panel is reinstalled on the service box.
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