Changing a Circuit Breaker

Changing a circuit breaker is as easy as one, two, three, four. That's right. When working with electricity, safety should always be the primary concern. Assemble any tools that may be necessary and carefully change the breaker. Let's begin.

Safety First
Turn off the power to the electrical panel. Even though the main breaker is turned off, voltage remains in the panel at the two hot wires that feed the main breaker. Avoid touching these wires. If metal touches one of the metal sections of the wires, a short or arc may occur. Your reaction to either of these may pose more potential for injury than the actual breaker. Be careful!

Feed the Cable

  • Turn off the breaker and remove the breaker panel cover.
  • Test the incoming hot wires with a voltmeter. Nothing should register.
  • Install a 3/8 inch cable clamp and run the cable into the panel.
  • Tighten the clamp.
  • Use a sharp knife to open the cable jacket.
  • Cut away the jacket back to the cable clamp.

Ground It

  • Maneuver the ground wire so it lies neatly.
  • Loosen a screw on the ground bus bar.
  • Insert the ground wire around the screw.
  • Tighten firmly.

Take a Neutral Stance

  • Locate the neutral line. It should be solid white.
  • Strip insulation from the end of the wire.
  • Insert the bare wire into the connection terminal.
  • Tighten the screw firmly.

Heat Things Up

  • Strip the hot wire and place securely under the screw.
  • Push the hold-on clip onto the bar until it is seated.
  • Push the business end safely until it seats.

Once you've completed these four steps, turn on the power. These four basic steps will help you safely change a circuit breaker in your home.

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