How To Replace Breaker Without Turning Off Power (Step-By-Step)

When a circuit breaker shows signs of aging and/or damage, it’s important to come up with a plan to replace it.

You cannot keep running the same circuit breaker as it will damage the circuit and/or create added safety issues inside the property. Acting fast is the most important thing a property owner can do.

However, you will want to do things seamlessly and quickly when replacing a circuit breaker at home. This includes learning how to replace a breaker without turning off the power.

To replace a breaker without turning off the power, start by locating the damaged breaker, pull it out with one hand (don’t use both to avoid electrocution from contact points), switch out the breaker, and re-connect it. Please note the better and safer option is to ask an electrician to do this or to turn off the power.

If you do attempt this, you have to take all necessary precautions.

For the most part, you should not be attempting to replace a circuit breaker without turning off the power. It’s a risk you might want to take but it is likely not worth it if you are inexperienced or unsure about the setup.

By consulting with an electrician or turning off the main power, you are going to have a much easier time replacing the breaker and it won’t take a long time.

This guide is still going to highlight how to replace a breaker without turning off the power safely.

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Steps To Replace Breaker Without Turning Off Power

1. Locate The Damaged Breaker

It’s important to note that this is an unsafe process and should only be done when you are aware of the risks.

It is possible to get electrocuted when handling a breaker without turning off the main power source. If you do take this risk, it’s important to follow each step in detail and make sure the removal is safe.

The first step you are going to do is find the breaker panel and locate the damaged component.

2. Remove With One Hand

Once you have located the damaged breaker, it’s time to begin the removal process.

You are going to look to pull the breaker out without touching the wire or the contact points. This is essential as you will have to realize the breaker is still live.

Remove it with one hand to avoid having both hands on the breaker at once.

This includes when it’s out of the main panel.

3. Don’t Touch The Contact Points

It is essential to avoid touching the contact points once the breaker has been removed from its slot.

You will not want to touch those contact points because they’re charged.

You will get electrocuted.

As you are handling the breaker, you are going to remove it and that will disconnect the breaker completely.

The panel is now going to be ready for the replacement component that you are adding to the main panel.

replace breaker without turning off power

4. Install The New Breaker

The next step is to install the new breaker.

You will want to make sure it is fully compatible before adding it to the main panel. This is going to ensure it’s a seamless fit and you don’t have to worry about the wiring becoming loose or the breaker not working as a safety element.

Locate where it needs to go, press it in, and connect everything.

This will ensure the breaker works as it is supposed to and you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged.

5. Consult With An Electrician

This is one step you will have to think about if you are inexperienced.

While the steps have been listed in this guide, you should always appreciate how difficult this process is due to the electricity running through the panel.

This is why you want to consult with an electrician. If you can get a professional to replace the breaker, this is highly recommended and should be your first option due to the safety implications of doing it on your own.

If you do wish to do it on your own, it is always better to turn off the power to reduce your risk.

When speaking to an electrician, you will want to highlight what the issue is and they will likely come up with a quick solution to take care of the problem. This includes handling the replacement.

Final Thoughts

These are the main steps on how to replace a breaker without turning off the power.

To replace a breaker without turning off the power, locate the main panel, inspect the damaged breaker, pull it out with one hand by avoiding touching the contact points, install a compatible breaker, and re-test the circuit. Please note that it is always recommended to have an electrician do this for you or to turn off the main power.

While these steps are going to work, you should always preserve your safety rather than doing it this way.

The risk is often not worth the few minutes you are going to save even if it works.

Read More On Outlets:

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  3. Causes Of Circuit Breaker Tripping At Night
  4. What Makes A Circuit Breaker Only Trip In One Room?
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  6. Why Does The Outlet Not Work After Circuit Breaker Tripped?
  7. Why Is The Main Breaker Missing In The Service Panel?