DIY Replacing a Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers control the flow of electricity to our homes
Circuit breakers control the flow of electricity to our homes (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Located inside every home with electricity is a box containing circuit breakers for each circuit in your home. These circuit breaker boxes are sometimes referred to as a fuse box. The circuit breakers provide overload protection for each of your electrical circuits and stop the flow of current if a fault occurs. If a breaker trips too easily or cannot be reset, you need to replace the circuit breaker.

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Switch off all electricity to the breaker box by shutting of the main circuit breaker. Verify the power is off by turning on lights throughout your home and verify they do not light. Remove the screws holding the breaker box cover panel in place and then remove the cover by lifting it off the breaker box.

Locate the circuit breaker that needs to be replaced and note where the black and white wires are connected. Connect these wires to the new breaker in the exact same location.

Loosen the screw over the white wire and remove the wire from the connection. Bend it out of your way. Loosen the screw over the black wire and remove the wire from the connection. Bend the black wire out of your way.

Note in which direction the circuit breaker is positioned in the breaker box. Take hold of the circuit breaker and gently pull it out. Push a new circuit breaker in place in the same position as the breaker you removed. Reattach the black and white wires in the reverse order that they were removed. Tighten the screws firmly over the wires.

Replace the front panel of the circuit breaker box and screw it back in place. Turn the electricity back on to the panel and verify that the new circuit breaker is in the “on” position.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the load from a breaker before shutting it off
  • Do not work on any electrical circuit without verifying power is off.

References

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