How to Change a Circuit Breaker That Has Gone Bad

When a circuit breaker keeps tripping with little or no load, many things can be responsible. It may be circuit overload, ground fault, short circuit or a bad breaker.

But if you have confirmed from an electrician that your breaker is bad, replacing it is quite easy.

In this article, you will learn how to replace a bad circuit breaker.

Signs of a bad circuit breaker

The following signs may mean that a circuit breaker has gone bad.

  • If it trips easily.
  • When it cannot reset
  • If it cannot trip when it suppose.
  • A circuit breaker that is always hot.
  • If it has a burnt smell.

While these signs may mean that your circuit breaker has broken down, only a professional electrician can confirm it by checking the voltage level using his multimeter.

Tools and materials needed to replace a bad breaker

  • Wire stripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Plier
  • Multimeter
  • Flashlight
  • Personal protective equipment
  • A new circuit breaker.

Here’s how to replace a bad circuit breaker

  • Switch off the main circuit breaker.
  • Test the wires with a multimeter or tester to make sure they are dead
  • Lose the panel cover
  • Disconnect the wires connected to the old circuit breaker
  • Carry out the old circuit breaker.
  • Mount the new breaker firmly, with the help of a level.
  • Reconnect the wires to the terminals
  • Replace the panel cover
  • Switch ON the control switch
  • Test run the circuit breaker to see if it is working fine.

Can I replace a circuit breaker without turning off the power?

Yes, you can replace a bad circuit breaker without turning off the control switch, however, it is risky.

But for any reason that makes you embark on that, make sure you protect yourself. Wear your personal protective equipment, such as your boots, overall, and hand gloves. Also, never you work in a wet environment because water is an excellent conductor of electricity.