Have you ever had a sudden electrical failure? It can be disorienting–one moment everything is normal, then suddenly the Circuit Breaker go out, your television shuts off, and you’re left alone in the dark.
Often, these outages are temporary–the result of a storm passing through and damaging some power lines. Sometimes, though, they’re a symptom of a more serious electrical problem.
In the latter case, replacing a circuit breaker may be necessary. Installing a circuit breaker is a relatively straightforward procedure, but as with any kind of electrical work, there are things you need to know before attempting it.
Read on to learn five things you should be aware of before replacing a circuit breaker.
When to Replace a Circuit Breaker
Let’s start with the basics: what are some signs you need a new circuit breaker? One of the most obvious signs is that the breakers keep tripping. If breakers are tripping every time you use an appliance, you’ve got a problem.
Take a minute to examine your circuit breaker panel. If you see rust or evidence of burning, you should replace your circuit breaker panel.
Circuit Breakers and Safety Switches
You may be wondering, “What is a circuit breakers, exactly?” A circuit breakers is a device that shuts off power to a certain portion of your home when too much electrical current is being drawn there.
Don’t confuse a circuit breaker for a safety switch. The latter is a preventative measure that protects you from electrocution; the former is meant to protect your home’s wiring.
Tools You’ll Need
You’ll be able to buy the parts for your circuit breaker from a company like Bay Power, but what else will you need for the job? There are a few key pieces of gear you’ll need when doing electrical work.
Buy a rubber mat to stand on and some safety goggles to protect your eyes. Get a voltage tester to make sure there’s no power running to the breaker before you work on it.
You’ll also need a screwdriver, wire strippers, and cable connectors.
Learning how to replace a circuit breakers requires you to understand some wiring basics. One key fact: black and red wires generally carry current from the breaker to an appliance. White wires do the opposite.
To start the process, make sure all your breakers are off (deactivate your main breaker last) and there’s no power running to your faulty breaker. Take off your panel cover and disconnect the wire from the breaker.
Remove the old breaker and insert the new one. Replace the cover, switch on the main breaker, and test each branch breaker one at a time.
The Importance of Lighting
Many people underestimate the value of good lighting when working on an electrical panel. You need to be able to see your breakers and wiring clearly, so make sure you have a powerful flashlight.
Proper lighting is only one aspect of electrical safety — whether you’re at home or in the workplace, prioritize your safety when working with electrical equipment.
Replacing a Circuit Breaker Made Easy
Replacing a circuit breakers isn’t too difficult if you approach it properly. Now that you know a bit about the process, you should have no trouble performing a DIY installation.