how do you remove a circuit breaker



Removing a circuit breaker is an essential skill that every homeowner or electrician should possess. Whether you need to replace a faulty circuit breaker or make changes to your electrical system, knowing how to remove a circuit breaker safely is crucial. However, this task requires a good understanding of electrical systems and should be approached with caution to avoid any mishaps. In this article, we will guide you through the process of removing a circuit breaker step by step, ensuring your safety and the integrity of your electrical system.

Safety First: Turning Off the Power

Before you start working on removing a circuit breaker, it is of utmost importance to prioritize your safety. Working with electricity carries inherent risks, and failure to follow proper safety procedures can result in severe injuries or electrical fires. The first and most crucial step is to turn off the power to the circuit you intend to work on.

To safely turn off the power, locate your electrical panel, which is commonly found in basements, garages, or utility rooms. Open the panel's door to access the breakers. Identify the circuit breaker corresponding to the circuit you want to remove. Each circuit breaker is labeled, indicating which part of your home it powers.

Locating the Circuit Breaker to Be Removed

Once you have located the correct circuit breaker, it's time to prepare for its removal. Before proceeding, make sure you have the appropriate tools and safety equipment. Prepare a flathead screwdriver, a pair of insulated gloves, safety goggles, and a voltage tester. These items are essential in ensuring your safety and facilitating the process.

Removing the Circuit Breaker

Now that you have taken the necessary safety precautions and gathered the required tools, you are ready to proceed with removing the circuit breaker. Follow these steps carefully to ensure a smooth and safe removal process.

1. Switching Off the Circuit Breaker

Before physically removing the breaker, you must switch it off within the electrical panel. This step prevents any electrical current from flowing to the circuit you are about to work on. Locate the handle of the circuit breaker, which should be in the "on" position. Firmly push the handle to the "off" position, moving it to the opposite side of the other breakers. This action will cut off the electrical flow to the circuit.

2. Verifying the Power is Off

After switching off the circuit breaker, it is essential to verify that the power is indeed turned off. Never assume that the breaker alone cuts off power entirely. To confirm, use a voltage tester to check if any electrical current is present. Place the voltage tester's probes on both the live wire and the ground wire of the circuit. If the tester doesn't detect any voltage, it indicates that the power has been successfully turned off.

3. Removing the Terminal Screws

With the power turned off and confirmed, you can proceed to remove the circuit breaker. Start by removing the terminal screws that secure the circuit wires to the breaker. Typically, there are two screws connecting the wires to the breaker, one on each side. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screws and carefully detach the wires one by one, ensuring they do not touch anything while exposed.

4. Releasing the Circuit Breaker

Once the wires are disconnected, you can release the circuit breaker from its mounting position. In most electrical panels, the circuit breakers are secured by a clip or a locking mechanism. To release the circuit breaker, locate the locking mechanism and carefully disengage it. This may involve gently pressing a release tab or sliding the breaker out of the panel. Exercise caution while doing so, as excessive force can damage the breaker or the panel itself.

5. Inspecting for Damage or Wear

Now that the circuit breaker is removed, take a moment to inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Carefully examine the breaker's body, terminals, and internal components for any visible issues such as cracks, burned areas, or loose connections. If you detect any problems, it is advisable to consult a professional electrician for further guidance or replacement.


In conclusion, safely removing a circuit breaker involves following a set of crucial steps to ensure your safety and the integrity of your electrical system. Remember to always prioritize safety by turning off the power before starting any electrical work. Locate the circuit breaker to be removed, prepare the necessary tools and safety equipment, switch off the breaker, verify the power is off, remove the terminal screws, release the circuit breaker, and inspect for any damage or wear. By adhering to these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, you will be able to remove a circuit breaker confidently and efficiently. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is advisable to seek assistance from a qualified electrician to avoid any potential hazards.


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