Last Updated on October 27, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Changing a circuit breaker can be intimidating for homeowners who have never performed house maintenance. You might be wondering how to switch the primary circuit breaker without causing any harm to your electrical system. Additionally, you can be confused by the procedures needed to change the primary breaker.
But don’t worry; replacing a primary breaker is a simple procedure that isn’t initially all that difficult.
You can use this guide, created especially to teach you how to correctly replace the main breaker – a crucial skill for every homeowner — to assist you in returning the main circuit breaker.
Before You Begin
Determine the brand, kind, and size of the breaker you’ll be replacing before you start the replacement. Your individual circuit breaker’s manufacturer is solely responsible for its circuit breakers. For instance, two popular breaker panel designs that only take breakers made for their panels are Home line and Square D QO. A thin-line breaker produced by GE is only appropriate for specific GE panels. Even though various breaker types will fit into panels made by different manufacturers, do not mix and match them unless they have been tried and certified for usage.
Breakers are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. A breaker from one manufacturer should never be replaced with another. Even though they appear to be the same, they differ in terms of tension, link in the holder, and how firmly they attach to the bus bars. Take a close look at the circuit breaker’s front. The necessary identifying numbers are on a little placard next to the reset lever. Take note of these details and get a matching replacement.
The Main Circuit Breaker Replacement Tools
You will require the following equipment to replace main breakers successfully:
- Line wire cutters
- Large screwdriver
- ⅜-inch Allen wrench
- Digital Multimeter
- Electric Safety Gloves
The following tools are necessary for replacing the main circuit breaker. You could struggle to complete a replacement without these tools. So before you take the correct measures to change the breaker, I advise you to have this equipment available first.
How to Change the Main Circuit Breaker: A Step-by-Step Guide
I’ve produced this short but informative manual to help you perform the maintenance above procedure correctly.
Turn the Main Power Off
Professional electricians occasionally change individual circuit breakers without turning off the primary power source. Still, for a novice undertaking this operation, turning off the primary power source is advisable, cutting off the electricity to the two hot bus bars that go through the service panel.
Locate the primary circuit breaker and switch it to the OFF position. Because of this, you might find yourself in the dark; therefore, be prepared with a flashlight. This will turn off every branch circuit in the panel.
When turning on/off a circuit breaker, keep their eyes off the panel until the change is made. The probability of an explosion in a circuit breaker panel exists, notwithstanding the remoteness of the likelihood; hence, a safety precaution aimed at safeguarding vision entails standing to the side and turning your gaze away. When handling electrical components and gadgets, some electricians put on safety goggles.
Remove the breaker cover
A protective covering is frequently fitted on the main circuit breaker. Using a standard big screwdriver, you can unfasten the screws holding the cover mentioned above to the circuit box.
Remove the cover and put it somewhere secure to store it. This is done to avoid unneeded mishaps compromising the cover’s structural integrity.
Remove the Old Circuit Breaker
Find the replacement breaker now that the lid has been removed. By moving the reset lever of the breaker to the OFF position, you can shut it down.
When extending the black insulated circuit wire from the panel, if it is firmly folded along the panel’s sides, avoid touching any other wires or the panel itself.
Now, firmly hold the end of the old breaker at the panel’s inner centre and turn it outward toward its outer side. The breaker ought to release and move away from the panel with ease. Avoid touching the metal bus bar where the breaker was mounted at all costs. After removing it from the panel, the breaker is assumed to be inactive because it is no longer in direct contact with either of the hot bus bars.
Inserting the new main breaker
Now that everything has been said, it is time to switch it out for a newer breaker model. Insert the breaker gently into the available socket to accomplish this. It ought to be simple and seamless to snap into place.
If, for example, your new breaker didn’t fit perfectly into the socket, you can check the entrance to see if there are any blockages within. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, I beg you to enlist the assistance of trained electricians for safety reasons.
It’s time to wrap up your maintenance task after installing the new breaker. Depending on the model, you might see wires hanging from your breaker that needs to be plugged in someplace.
They should be connected to the new main breaker, I suppose. To ensure that the screws are firmly fastened to the body of the circuit breaker, torque them just enough.
When to Call a Professional
Even experienced DIYers may feel uneasy while replacing a circuit breaker because it requires operating inside the primary circuit breaker panel, where there is always the possibility of receiving a lethal electric shock.
It is recommended to engage a licensed electrician to conduct this repair if you are unsure of your ability to do it yourself, the circuit breaker panel appears old or unique, or if you are not entirely confident in your abilities. Additionally, a professional will be aware of all AFCI and GFCI specifications and make sure that your installation complies with all legal requirements.
Simply put, replacing your primary circuit breaker is not a difficult task. You only need to follow a few simple steps to guarantee that your primary circuit breaker is changed appropriately. For example, you must connect the wires properly to avoid many problems while replacing your circuit breaker. This post is for you if you’re curious about how much it will cost to change them.
How to repair a 200-ampere main breaker is something you might be wondering. Don’t worry; changing primary breakers is always the same; this procedure may be used for every circuit breaker in every home.
If you are planing to purchase main circuit breakers in bulk, ICRFQ is the one stop manufacturing plant. We manufacturer the best quality and affordable electrical components in China.
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