How to Replace a Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping

How to Replace a Circuit Breaker. Circuit breakers are designed to interrupt the power to a circuit and protect your wiring. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, the steps below will show you the right--and safe--way to fix it.

Replace a Circuit Breaker

Determine Whether You Have a Problem

Step 1

Plug a radio into an outlet on the circuit you're dealing with. Make sure that the volume is turned up so you can hear it when it comes on.

Step 2

Find your panel box. It's usually in the basement or utility room.

Step 3

Turn off the main power, if possible. Most panel boxes have a main on/off switch.

Step 4

Press the tripped breaker toward "off" to reset it, then to "on." If it trips immediately, you either have a bad breaker or a short somewhere in the circuit.

Replace the Circuit Breaker

Step 1

Purchase a new circuit breaker from a hardware store.

Step 2

Take the panel cover off the panel box by unscrewing the face plate.

Step 3

Notice the two wires feeding into the side of the breaker. Remember which one is in which position.

Step 4

Loosen the screw holding the white wire first just enough to get the wire out.

Step 5

Put a wire nut on the end of the white wire and bend it out of the way.

Step 6

Loosen the other screw and do the same thing with the colored wire.

Step 7

Pull the old circuit breaker out and snap a new one into place.

Step 8

Replace the wires in the same positions as they were on the old breaker - colored one first, white one second.

Step 9

Tighten the screws holding the wires.

Step 10

Replace the face plate.

Step 11

Turn the power to the panel on, if necessary.

Step 12

Turn the breaker on. You should hear your radio. If it trips, call an electrician since you most likely have a potentially dangerous short circuit.