How to Replace the Circuit Breaker the Right Way

The circuit breakers are responsible for protecting the electric circuits in your home by stopping the flow of electricity in the event of an overload or the sudden surge after a blackout. While they last a long time, they can develop faults and problems that can put your home at risk.

Handyman Connection® of Fort Collins discusses how to replace your circuit breaker the proper way.

What You Need

There are a few things you need before you do this. These include:

  • The new circuit breaker
  • A rubber mat or plywood stand to protect your from shocks
  • An insulated flashlight, screwdriver and wire strippers
  • Voltage tester and cable connectors

The First Steps

First, remove the outer panel using your flat head screwdriver from the service panel. Some panels have extremely long screws that may require an electric drill instead. Either way, press your free hand against the service panel as you’re unscrewing the last two screws so the panel won’t fall on your foot. Remove the panel gently to avoid electric shocks.

Next, turn off the circuit breaker. Start by switching off the main breaker. This is the large switch at the top of the service panel and it will shut down power across the entire home. Now, turn off the circuit breaker you’re planning to remove. This is actually an unnecessary step as you won’t get jolted, but it’s a good way to develop a safety procedure to protect you from electric shocks.

Removing the Breaker

The proper way to remove the circuit breaker is to gently rock it toward the outside of the panel. Once you feel that it’s starting to come loose, give it a good tug and pull it out of its socket.

You’ll now have the circuit breaker but it’s still attached to the panel thanks to its wire. Pull it out as far as practically possible to give yourself some room to work with. Removing the wire is simple enough and you can do it either manually or with your screwdriver.

Once that’s done, all you need to do is install the new circuit breaker and tighten any loose terminals. Cover it back up with the panel cover and turn on the main breaker, and you’re all done.

Let Handyman Connection of Fort Collins assist you with your electrical needs. Fill out our form or give us a call at (970) 235-0818 to learn more about our services.