How to Replace Arc-Fault Circuit Breaker Without an Electrician

Replacing an arc-fault circuit breaker without hiring an electrician is totally doable for a handy homeowner. While electrical work can seem daunting, replacing a circuit breaker is one of the simpler tasks. With proper precautions and following steps, you can safely change it out yourself.

Understanding Arc-Fault Circuit Breakers

Arc-fault circuit breakers (AFCIs) are a special type of circuit breaker that helps prevent electrical fires. They monitor the electrical current on a circuit and will trip if they detect potentially dangerous arc faults.

Some key facts about AFCIs:

Replacing an arc-fault circuit breaker is very similar to a standard breaker. The main differences are verifying it is compatible and reconnecting the wiring properly.

Gather Materials Needed

Before starting, gather all the materials and tools you will need:

Safety gear like gloves and eye protection are also recommended.

Make sure to switch off the main circuit breaker to cut power before beginning work.

Removing the Old Breaker

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

With the old one removed, take a minute to clean up any dust or debris in the panel box before continuing.

Installing the New Breaker

Time to put in the new replacement AFCI breaker:

Carefully follow the manufacturer instructions if provided. Take your time and be meticulous to avoid wiring errors.

Restoring Power and Testing

You're in the home stretch now:

If the AFCI trips immediately, consult the troubleshooting section in the user manual. A minor wiring issue is likely.

Staying Safe When Replacing an AFCI

When DIYing electrical work, safety should always come first:

Replacing an arc-fault circuit breaker is well within the abilities of many homeowners if proper precautions are taken. Following these guidelines closely will allow you to change it out safely without an electrician.