Reading Time: 2 minutes
We use electricity every day, yet it’s often a commodity we know little about. When things work, our homes electrical system makes our lives much easier. However, when things go wrong, the results can be devastating. The circuit breaker is the most important safety mechanism in any home or building, so only electrical technicians must attempt a circuit breaker installation. Its main function is to interrupt the electrical circuit and discontinue electrical flow when it detects any fault in the wiring or an electrical appliance – this is referred to as circuit breaker tripping.
What Would Cause A Circuit Breaker To Trip?
The main reasons that a circuit breaker would trip are:
- The electrical system is overloaded. This happens when more and more appliances are added to an electrical circuit that cannot handle the load.
- An electrical short – this usually occurs when there is a fault with the electrical wiring.
- A ground-fault – An electrical fault caused by moisture in the electrical circuit. This usually occurs in areas with high moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, outside lighting, and the pool.
When Does A Circuit Breaker Need Replacing?
Circuit breakers should last about 25-30 years and do not typically need replacing, only resetting. Some obvious signs that the circuit breaker needs replacing are:
- They keep tripping
- They won’t reset
- There is a burning smell coming from the electrical panel
- You can see physical damage like frayed wires and black or burnt materials
- Your electrical appliances keep overheating
- The circuit breaker is hot to touch
The Tools Required For A Circuit Breaker Installation
Working with electricity can be dangerous. It can have fatal consequences if the correct procedures are not followed and safety is not a priority. When working on the electrical panel or doing electrical repairs, the electrical technician will ensure that they wear the correct safety gear and have the correct insulated tools for the job. Some of these items include:
- Plywood or a rubber mat to stand on.
- An insulated flashlight or free-standing light. Electrical panels are sometimes in dark spots. Because of this, good lighting is essential when installing circuit breakers.
- Insulated hammers, screwdrivers, and wire strippers
- Safety goggles
- Rubber-soled safety boots
- Cable connectors
- A Voltage tester
Installing A Circuit Breaker In Six Steps
It is never advisable for the “Do It Yourself” enthusiast to attempt any work on an electrical panel, only an experienced electrical technician will have the knowledge and expertise to install a circuit breaker. Wearing the correct safety gear and using the appropriate tools, the electrical technician will:
- Power Down – the power to the branch circuit breakers will be shut off one at a time, followed by the power to the main panel. A voltage tester will be used to ensure the power is off.
- Unscrew and remove the panel cover.
- Check the whole panel for any signs of moisture, burns, or loose connections. Loosen the terminal screws and wiring of the breakers to be replaced.
- Loosen and remove the faulty circuit breaker
- Line up and install the new circuit breaker. Tighten screws in place. Check all the other circuit breakers and replace them if necessary. Screw panel covers back in place.
- Power up starting with the main switch followed by individual circuit breakers. Check that the power is fully restored with a voltage tester.
Art Plumbing, AC & Electric For Circuit Breaker Installations
Art Plumbing, AC & Electric are the trusted technicians in South Florida since 1983. For any electrical requirements, including circuit breaker installations, in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, contact Art Plumbing, AC & electric at 1-800-475-1504.