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How Do I Replace a Circuit Breaker?

Q: How Do I Replace a Circuit Breaker?

A: If you’ve already tripped the circuit breaker and the circuit did not reactivate, then you likely have a bad breaker or possibly a short somewhere in the circuit. First unscrew the face plate of the panel box and remove it. Take note of the two wires connecting to the side of the breaker and remember their positions. With the breaker in the OFF position, use a screwdriver to loosen the screw holding the white wire. Remove the wire, apply a wire nit to the end and bend it out of the way. Then loosen the second screw and bend the colored wire out of the way. The breaker is held in place by the contact points that clamp onto the main circuit. Circuit breakers vary in design, but generally they “snap” in and out of place, and sometimes they must be tilted at an angle to remove and install. Snap the old breaker out of the box and replace with a new, matching breaker by reversing the removal procedure. You should be able to feel the breaker snap over the circuit, indicating a firm connection. Replace the wires in their original position, colored first, white second. Tighten the wire screws then fasten the faceplate back onto the box securely. Flip it ON, and the new breaker should be ready for use.

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