How to Replace the Electrical Breaker Box Switch


The electrical breakers in the main circuit panel control the flow of power to the outlets and other devices in your home. It is important to keep them in good working order to prevent an electrical hazard or fire. Circuit breakers wear out and require replacement. Follow a few simple steps to replace the electrical breaker box switch correctly and safely to protect everyone in your home.

1 .Turn the power off on the main breaker switch at the top of the power panel by switching it to the "off" position. Note that the main power switch on some homes is next to the electrical meter on the side of the home.

2 .Using the screwdriver, remove any screws that are used to mount or attach the cover panel to the electrical box. Remove the panel and place it to the side.

3 .Locate the breaker switch to be replaced. Make sure that this breaker is in the "on" position. Test with the voltage tester to ensure that no power is going to the panel. Touch one probe to the black wire on the breaker and the other probe to the white wire on the neutral buss strip. No lights should illuminate if the power is off.

4. Use the screwdriver to unscrew and disconnect the black wire that is attached to the screw on the end of the breaker switch. Let the black wire momentarily hang, as we will reuse this wire shortly.

5 .Using the screwdriver, pry up on one end of the breaker to pry it out of the two U-shape clamps that is holding it in the electrical box. The U clamp will be clamped over a pin. Discard the breaker switch.

6 .Line up the new breaker switch in the same slot and press the two U-shaped clamps down onto the pins in the slot until they pop or lock into place. The breaker will line up and match the rest of of the breaker switches with properly installed.

7 .Take the black wire from step 4, and using the screwdriver, mount the wire to the new breaker using the screw on the end of the breaker.

8 .Turn both the switch on the new breaker and the main power switch to the panel to the "on" position.

9 .Carefully use the voltage tester to check that the breaker is working by touching one probe to the screw where the black wire is connected and the other probe to the neutral buss strip running down the center of the panel. The warning lights will now light up, as power is flowing through the circuit.

10 .Using the screwdriver, replace the electrical panel cover and attach it to the electrical box using the screws you removed in Step 2. Make sure that the panel does not touch any of the wiring inside.