Change a Circuit Breaker

How to Change a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is connected to an electrical circuit and is designed to stop the power flow though the circuit in the event there is a surge, arc, or short. Occasionally, however, these breakers go bad, and you will need to know how to change a circuit breaker. Follow the steps to learn how to replace a circuit breaker.


1.Find the main circuit breaker box. Some homes may have 1 large main breaker box as well as smaller branch breaker boxes.


2.Locate the defective breaker. A tripped breaker is halfway between the on and off position.

  • Before assuming a circuit breaker needs to be replaced, try resetting the breaker by turning off all lights and unplugging all devices on that circuit. Then turn the back to the on position.
  • Some breakers must be turned all the way off before they can be turned back on.
  • Test the circuit breaker by turning on the breaker, and then add the devices 1 at a time. If the light or device becomes operable, then a voltage tester is not needed.change_CB_2

3.Use a voltage tester to see if power is going out through the wire attached to the breaker.change_CB_3

4.Turn off the branch breaker boxes, followed by the main power.

  • This should be the large flip switch located above or below all the other smaller ones. The smaller circuit breakers will have small numbers on them from 10 to 60, while the main power breaker will have numbers such as 100, 150, or 200.change_CB_45.Turn off the individual breakers.change_CB_5

    6.Remove the screws holding the faceplate with a Philips screwdriver.change_CB_6

    7.Read the label on the main power switch to determine what kind of circuit breaker box you own.change_CB_7

    8.Loosen the screws that hold the wires found on the defective breaker.change_CB_8

    9.Remove the breaker from the panel.change_CB_9

    10.Discard the old circuit breaker.change_CB_10

    11.Replace the old circuit breaker with the new one. The replacement breaker must have the same amperage and be the same type as the main breaker. Snap the circuit breaker back into the same place as the old on the panel.change_CB_11

    12.Place the wires in the new circuit breaker as they were in the old one.change_CB_12

    13.Tighten the screws. Do not over tighten.change_CB_13

    14.Replace the circuit panel’s faceplate.change_CB_14

    15.Turn on the main power, followed by the individual breakers.change_CB_15