How to Replace a Bad Breaker in Your Electrical Panel

How to Replace a Bad Breaker in Your Electrical Panel

Replacing a faulty circuit breaker is an important electrical repair that homeowners should know how to do safely. With some basic safety knowledge, the right tools, and by following key steps, you can swap out a bad breaker yourself. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to replace a breaker in your home's electrical panel.

Safety Precautions When Working with Electrical Panels

When working inside your home's electrical panel, safety should always be your top concern. Electrical shocks and electrocution are real risks. Follow these safety measures:

Following proper safety protocols is crucial when replacing a breaker yourself. It's also advisable to have someone present in case of an emergency when working in your electrical panel.

How to Identify the Faulty Breaker

Before replacing a breaker, you need to determine which specific one is causing issues. Here are ways to pinpoint the problematic circuit breaker:

Once you've identified the malfunctioning breaker, it's time to replace it. Make sure the main breaker is OFF for safety.

Choosing the Replacement Breaker

When selecting a new circuit breaker, you need the correct amperage rating and size:

Consult your panel's labeling and your home's electrical documentation to select the properly rated replacement breaker. Getting one with matched specifications is vital for safety.

Step-by-Step Breaker Replacement Procedure

Once you have the correctly rated new breaker, follow these key steps to safely replace the faulty unit:

1. Turn Off Electricity and Verify

Shut off the main breaker then confirm power is off before starting work. Test outlets to be double sure.

2. Remove Old Breaker

Unscrew the retention screw holding the faulty breaker in place. Grip its handle firmly and pull straight out to remove it.

3. Install New Breaker

Align the new breaker with the panel slots and gently push it into place until fully seated. Do not force it.

4. Connect Wires

Use a screwdriver to securely fasten the circuit wires to the new breaker's terminals. Refer to its labeling.

5. Secure New Breaker

Tighten the retention screw to firmly fix the replacement breaker into the panel. Do not over tighten.

6. Restore Power

With the work complete, turn the main breaker back on to restore electricity to the panel.

Carefully follow each step and use proper safety gear. Take your time and don't rush the process. With patience and caution, you can swap a bad breaker for a functioning one.

Testing the Newly Installed Breaker

Once installed, test the new breaker to verify normal operation:

If you encounter any problems, refer back to the installation steps to check for errors. The new breaker should operate properly, power its circuit, and feel cool to the touch during testing.

Replacing a faulty breaker requires safety awareness but is a doable DIY electrical task. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools ahead of time. Adhere to all precautions when working in the panel. With care and attention to detail, you can carry out a breaker replacement yourself and save the cost of an electrician service call.