Residential Electrician Dallas, Texas

How to Replace or Change a Circuit Breaker in your Electrical Panel

Have you ever needed to replace or change a circuit breaker in your electrical panel? 

Breaker Panel DFW
Breaker Panel

Anytime this type of work is needed, it is a good policy to contact a licensed electrician. This is a good idea because a licensed electrician will be able to take a visual assessment of your entire electrical system and put particular attention on any areas that may appear to be prone to failure. 

There are a couple of reasons why you may need to replace a circuit breaker. The first reason is if the breaker is not putting out any power. A licensed electrician will be able to test the breaker to make this determination. Homeowners may also be able to make this assessment themselves, see my article describing the process of checking for a bad breaker.

As mentioned in that article, you want to touch the red lead to breaker terminal and the black lead to the neutral wire. Getting a reading somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 volts indicates that the breaker is putting out power. If there is no voltage reading, then the breaker is bad and should be replaced. 

Another reason you may need to replace a circuit breaker is if the breaker keeps tripping or is reading a lower current than what it’s rated for. If you have a 20 amp breaker, for example, they can run 16 amps continuously. If the 20 amp breaker is tripping at a current of 16 amps, then the breaker should be replaced. 

It is important to note that working with electricity is extremely dangerous. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI),

thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents, electrocution in their own homes.

At Residential Electric DFW, we are licensed and experienced electricians and highly recommend that you do not attempt to repair electrical systems in your home as a “weekend warrior” or DIY “do-it-yourself” project. A licensed electrician can take extra precautions to ensure that all electrical panels and sub-panels are shut down prior to initiating any replacement of circuit breakers or other wiring and outlets.

New Breaker Box Dallas Ft. Worth
New Breaker Box

An electrician will follow specific protocols to test the panels once they are shut down to ensure that there is in fact no power to the breaker prior to beginning work. Replacing a breaker looks easy and in many respects it is. Once all power is shut down, you can just unscrew and pull the bad breaker from the panel. However, the key here is to make sure and confirm that all power is shut down prior to taking that step. This is not a mistake you want to learn from the hard way. Once the bad breaker is removed, a new breaker can be installed in its place. 

The bigger picture here is that if you have a bad breaker, it may have been caused by some bigger issue that a homeowner is not likely to be able to detect. Having a licensed electrician to take a look at your existing wiring and potential causes of your electrical issues should give you piece of mind that is essentially priceless and will ensure your safety in the short and long-term. 

Give Residential Electric DFW a call. We are here to help and available to resolve all of your electric needs.

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