How To Install or replace A Circuit Breaker? (Do THIS First!)

Older homes often need a new circuit breaker if it trips. Depending on the type of system, you have to screw in the circuit breaker or slide it in place. You should find what is tripping the circuit (such as a faulty device) before you install a new one. This is discussed in the following video:

In newer homes, you can generally flip the switch if the circuit breaker flips (after you have found the source of the problem). In this post, we will focus on how to install a new circuit breaker in a modern system.

Making changes to any house, RV, or van means that you will eventually have to start working on the circuit board of your house. In the worst case, you will have a circuit breaker that burns out or is just too old, and you will have to replace the circuit breaker to ensure that everything continues to work.

Find a spot on the circuit board, test that the power to the board is off, and remove the board’s front panel. Connect the circuit breaker to the outgoing wire, make sure it is off, then slide the circuit breaker into the spot on the board, test everything, then turn on the board. 


Understanding why so many people warn against installing a circuit breaker on your own and knowing what the dangers are is essential. We recommend that you understand what can go wrong and the dangers of installing a circuit breaker before you try doing it yourself. Always wear personal protective equipment such as goggles and worker’s boots. Your system might work differently than outlined here.

What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker is an automatic shutdown mechanism that stops the operation of a circuit when it senses an overload or a short circuit. This helps to prevent fires and other potential catastrophes that may occur if the circuit is left unchecked. If a device is faulty or someone touches live wires, circuit breakers stop the electric flow and make sure that the damage is limited. They measure differences in electric current to determine if they have to switch off.

A circuit breaker can be used to protect electrical equipment, appliances, conductors, sub stations, panels, transformers, and even entire electrical grids from potential overheating or overloading risks.
There are three main types of circuit breakers: local trip breakers (LT), auxiliary trip breakers (AT), and double-ended trip breakers (DT). These can be found in appliances and on your electrical circuit. In the past, they used to break when they flipped. Nowadays they can be reused.

Circuit breakers are required in all electric installations as they are essential safety devices. These are inspected when houses are sold.

Can You Install or replace A Circuit Breaker Yourself?

Yes, if you have the right equipment and are comfortable working on electricity without looking for shortcuts, you can easily install a circuit breaker yourself. We recommend that you first read everything and look at tutorials on installing a circuit board before you try to do it yourself.

When working with circuit breakers, you will need to consider several dangers that you will face. With many people forgetting that they are handling cables that will be connected directly to the main power that is coming into the house, many people get deadly shocks.

Before installing the breaker, you must consider this, as you will need to ensure that the power is off before you start working on the circuit board. The circuit breaker you are installing will usually determine the maximum power that flows through a wired system, tripping when you are shocked. 

How Do You Wire A Circuit Breaker For A Room?

To wire a circuit breaker for a specific room, you will need the wires from the room’s plugs, and lights pulled through to the circuit board. Once this is done, you will need to connect the wires of the plugs to a circuit board and the lights to their circuit board.

Plugs in a room and light in a room cannot be connected to the same circuit breakers as they have entirely different regulations. You will need to use a 5-amp circuit breaker for both, but the voltage ratings will be different to allow different tripping points.

Lights will usually trip when a higher voltage is pulled; when working on the lights or one break, it will usually trip the breaker. Whereas plugs are usually required to deliver a lot more power as they may run aircon or full computer systems for weeks without overheating or tripping. 

Is It Safe To Install A Circuit Breaker Without Turning Off The Power?

No, it is not safe to install or replace a circuit breaker while the main power of the circuit board is still one. You will either shock yourself or cause the entire circuit board to short circuit, causing multiple failures, and you can cause a fire to start as the heat from short-circuiting can cause sparks.

We have seen several people that try to replace or install their circuit breakers without shutting off the power, causing their entire circuit board to be damaged. Several people have been shocked by their circuit boards simply because they refuse to shut off the power to the entire house for only a few minutes.

It is important to remember that the circuit board is running with extremely high voltages and amperages, as it is connected to the street supplied power. This means that the power will keep flowing through the circuit board even if you cause something too short or install something wrong. 

How To Turn Off Power To A House From The Outside?

Generally, it is not possible to turn off the power to a circuit board from the outside without shutting off the power from the street. Most homes in the United States and a few other countries have power supplied through a cable box outside the house that needs a key to open.

While the other way that homes are connected to the power grid is through a cable that goes from the power line pole directly to the house. In these connections, the circuit board is the only way to turn the power to the house on and off, so you need to be extra careful. 

However, unless you are replacing the entire circuit board, you will not need to shut off the power from outside the house. The circuit board will have a main switch that can be turned off that disconnects all the power to the circuit board, allowing you to add or remove circuit breakers. Be careful with older systems as they might not be up to code and need to be updated as soon as possible.

What Are The Steps To Installing A Circuit Breaker?

Now that you know a few of the other basics, we can take a quick step-by-step look at installing the circuit breakers into a working circuit board. It is important to remember that you will need to have the power shut off when doing this and that all the wires need to be pulled through. 

Before you can even start installing the breaker, you need to ensure that the new wires you are connecting to the board are already there. Further, the circuit board needs to have been shut down to ensure that you will not cause a spark or shock yourself or anyone working on the power.

  • Removing The Cover On The Circuit Board: Once the power is off, remove the front cover of the circuit board, sometimes called the DB board. This will expose the wires connected to the already existing circuit breakers. 
  • Connecting The New Wires: You will have to pull through the wires the final few inches once the cover is open, ensuring that there is some extra to ensure the wires are not pulled too much. Remove the plastic surrounding the cover and connect the wires to the circuit breaker.
  • Slide-in The Breaker: Now that the wires are connected, slide in the breaker to the slot where it is connected. Modern boards have internal clips that connect everything, but older boards will still have wires that you need to connect from the internal wiring of the board.
  • Testing Everything: Before switching on the circuit board’s main switch, use a voltage meter to test energy flow. You should be able to measure that the correct wires are connected to everything and that the resistance is not too high. 
  • Switching On the Breaker: Once everything is tested and the circuit board is closed back up, you can switch back on the breaker. Take a moment to ensure that everything is working and that there is no smell of burning plastic coming from the wires. 


Replacing your circuit breakers or installing a new one is not one of the hardest things you can do with your own hands. However, despite being relatively easy in theory, it can be one of the most dangerous things you can do when working with unregulated power. 

Please remember that it is always better to be safer rather than risky if you work with electricity. 


How To Add A Circuit Breaker To An Electrical Panel | Electricity – Youtube

How To Install A Circuit Breaker: 14 Steps (With Pictures) (Wikihow.Com)

Breaker Box Safety: How To Connect A New Circuit (Diy) | Family Handyman

How To Replace A Circuit Breaker (Thespruce.Com)

How To Wire An Electrical Circuit Breaker Panel (Thespruce.Com)

Installing Circuit Breakers – Relectric