How to Replace a Bolt-on Circuit Breaker

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Things You'll Need

  • Volt meter

  • Breaker change out

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Socket wrench (optional)

Circuit breakers help to regulate the amount of electrical current flowing into your home. There are times when you may need to change one of these circuit breakers because they are faulty or causing problems. There are two types of circuit breakers: push-in and bolt-on breakers. As long as you follow safety protocol by turning the main breaker off and checking to see that it has no electrical feed, you should be able to replace a bad bolt-on breaker with relative ease.


Step 1

Turn off the main breaker. Test the circuit breaker you will be working on with a volt meter after you have turned off that breaker and the main breaker to make sure that it is not getting any electrical feed while you work. Use a battery-operated light source.

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Step 2

Locate the bolts or screws securing the panel cover of the circuit breaker. Remove the screws with the appropriate screwdriver by turning them counterclockwise, or detach the bolts with a socket wrench by turning them the same way. Put the screws or bolts in your pocket for safekeeping.


Step 3

Grab the sides of the cover, pull it off and put it to the side.

Step 4

Turn the bolt-on circuit breaker to the "Off" position and disconnect the load wire that feeds into the unit.


Step 5

Locate the screws that attach the bolt-on circuit breaker to the bus bars behind it. Remove these screws with a Phillips screwdriver and put them in a safe place.

Step 6

Place the tip of a flat-head screwdriver under the circuit breaker and carefully pry it from its position.


Step 7

Position the new bolt-on circuit breaker carefully where the old one was.

Step 8

Secure the new circuit breaker with the screws that came with it. Tighten the screws in the bus bar by turning them clockwise, but don't overtighten. When you feel resistance, make another quarter turn and stop.


Step 9

Reconnect the load wire and flip the new breaker to the "On" position. Reattach the cover with the screws or bolts. Turn the main circuit breaker on.



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