How to Replace a 240 Volt Breaker Without an Electrician

How to Replace a 240 Volt Breaker Without an Electrician


Replacing a 240 volt breaker in your electrical panel can seem intimidating, but with proper precautions it is a task a homeowner can safely tackle. A 240 volt circuit supplies power to large appliances like electric dryers, ranges, hot water heaters, and air conditioners. When these appliances stop working, the problem is often a tripped or faulty double-pole breaker controlling the circuit. Replacing the breaker yourself can save the cost of an electrician service call. Follow these steps to safely replace a 240 volt breaker without hiring an electrician.

Before You Start

Before replacing a 240 volt breaker, take these preliminary steps:

Turn Off the Power

Locate the main circuit breaker in your electrical service panel and switch it to the "OFF" position. This disconnects power to the panel and prevents shock hazards. Verify power is off by testing with a non-contact voltage tester.

Purchase the Correct Replacement Breaker

240 volt circuits require a double-pole breaker. Make sure to match the amperage and trip curve (thermal magnetic or electronic) of the new breaker to the old one. The breaker replacement must be compatible with the panel brand.

Gather Safety Gear

Wear insulated gloves and use a non-contact tester again before touching any wiring to double check power is off. Safety glasses and a headlamp are also recommended.

Shut Off the Correct Breaker

To avoid shutting off power to unrelated circuits, properly identify which double-pole breaker controls the 240 volt circuit you want to work on:

Remove the Old Breaker

With the circuit power verified off, now you can physically remove the old breaker:

Install the New Breaker

Refer to the manufacturer's instructions included with the new breaker for specific details on properly installing it:

Restore Power and Test Operation

You're almost done! Follow these final steps to finish the job safely:

With that, you can relax knowing you successfully replaced a 240 volt breaker and saved money over hiring an electrician! Just be sure to take proper precautions every time you work inside your electrical panel.


What size breaker do I need?

Match the amperage of the old breaker. Most 240V circuits require 30 or 50 amp breakers.

How do I remove a stuck breaker?

Turn off power. Carefully wedge a screwdriver under the breaker and pry upward while pulling out. Be cautious not to touch other breakers or wiring.

Can I use a regular breaker for a 240V circuit?

No, you must use a double-pole breaker specifically designed for 240V circuits. Single pole breakers are only for 120V.

Why did my 240V breaker trip?

Overload, short circuit, or ground fault. Fix the underlying problem before replacing the breaker.

Is it safe for a homeowner to do this?

Yes, with proper precautions - shutting off power, using safety gear, and avoiding live wiring. If uncomfortable, hire an electrician.