Replacing a Circuit Breaker on a Non-Working Outlet

Once you notice that a breaker does not supply any more power then it is time for you to replace it. However unlike a fuse, a circuit breaker is normally designed to be reset, but on certain occasions it may also break or even malfunction thus requiring it to be replaced with a new breaker. In most household, it will be having a main circuit breaker along with a separate branch circuit breakers connecting to different areas in your house. If ever the circuit breakers need to be replaced, you must always practice certain safety precautions and follow the steps mentioned below.

What you need to do:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Circuit tester
  3. Long-nosed pliers
  4. Replacement circuit breaker

Circuit Breaker


  1. Firstly, you need to turn off the main circuit breaker from your electrical service panel so that all the power connected to the panel will be disconnected. You will notice that the main breaker is normally located at the top separated from the other circuit breaker switches.
  2. In order to troubleshooting, you must remove the screws that secure the service panel cover and once done, remove the cover. Remember not to attempt to remove the cover to the main breaker because this part should only be done by a certified technician.
  3. Always check the voltage of the breaker that you want to replace with a circuit tester to make sure it is really faulty.
  4. For safety precautions, you must also check for any voltage at the other breakers below and above the unit that you want to replace to really make sure that there is no power at all connecting to the panel.
  5. Next step to take is to loosen up the set screw that secures the hot wire to the breaker before removing it from the breaker by using long-nosed pliers.
  6. After that, you need to insert the tip of your screwdriver in between the underside of the breaker and the panel on the side where the hot wire is attached to. Then, pry it up in order to release the breaker from the panel and remove it.
  7. Ensure that the breaker you want to replace is the same as the original breaker. If you are not, just take the breaker to an electrical parts supplier to purchase the exact product for the breaker.
  8. Then, you have to snap the replacement breaker into the panel, reattach your hot wire and make sure to tighten the set screw in order to secure it. After that, replace the panel cover, restore back the power supply connecting to the panel and try to switch on the new breaker.
  9. To test whether it is working or not, you need to plug an appliance into your electrical outlet, which is controlled by the new breaker and see if the power is available or not. Once you notice that it is working fine then your task is completed.

Image Credit:

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Additional Reading:

Circuit Breaker