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How to Change the Main Circuit Breaker in Just Five Steps

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how to change the main circuit breaker

Changing a circuit breaker can be a daunting task for homeowners with relatively no experience in handling home maintenance. Perhaps you are asking yourself how to change the main circuit breaker without damaging your electrical system. Moreover, you could also be perplexed as to the processes involved in replacing main breaker.

However, don’t fret, as performing a main breaker replacement is an easy task and isn’t that complicated, to begin with.

To help you replace main circuit breaker, you can follow this guide curated specifically to inform you how to properly replace main breaker — an indispensable skill for every homeowner.


A Step-by-step Guide on Changing the Main Circuit Breaker


Tools You Need to Change the Main Circuit Breaker

In order for you to successfully carry out the task of replacing main breakers, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Line wire cutters
  • Large screwdriver (to remove & tighten screws)
  • ⅜-inch Allen wrench (to remove the breaker’s lugs & tighten socket head bolts)
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Electric Safety Gloves

The tools I’ve listed below are vital for changing the main circuit breaker. Without these instruments, you may have a hard time performing a replacement. Hence, I recommend that you have these devices first on hand before proceeding to the proper steps of changing the breaker itself.


Now, to safely replace the main breaker, I’ve written this short yet informational manual that should guide you in the said maintenance task.

Step 1. Shut down the electrical line


In order for you to safely work on the project, the circuitry must first be de-energized to prevent untoward electrocution and other electrical accidents from happening. Likewise, turning off the electrical line also prevents your appliances from being damaged due to a sudden electric surge.

You can shut down the electrical line by calling your local electricity provider. They are the only entity with access to your home’s main power feed, which supplies the electricity in your home.

You can use a multimeter to make sure there’s no power.

Step 2. Remove the breaker cover


The main circuit breaker commonly comes installed with a protective covering. To remove the said cover, you can use your regular large screwdriver to detach the screws binding the cover and the circuit box itself.

After removing the cover, safely store it somewhere safe. This is in order to prevent any unnecessary accidents that could damage the cover’s material integrity.

Step 3. Disconnect the main breaker

This is considered to be the most crucial step in this guide. Carefully removing the wirings of your main circuit breaker is a tedious task; hence, you should be totally focused when performing this step.

To disconnect the main breaker, carefully pry it with a screwdriver. It should come out easily and without much trouble, as breakers are commonly designed for seamless maintenance. The breaker should roll out its socket effortlessly.

Step 4. Inserting the new main breaker


With all that being said and done, now is the time to replace it with a newer breaker model. To do this, just carefully push the breaker into the open socket. It should snap into place easily and seamlessly.

If for instance your new breaker couldn’t fit right into the socket, then you can check the opening to see if there are any obstructions within. For safety measures, I implore that you gather the help of professional electricians if you’re unsure of what you are doing.

Step 5. Finishing up

After lodging the new breaker into place, it’s now time to finish your maintenance job up. Depending on the model of your breaker, you may notice that there are wires dangling that need to be connected somewhere.

Well, they ought to be connected to the new main breaker. Gently torque the screws in order for them to be connected firmly to the circuit breaker’s body.


To be concise, changing your main circuit breaker is not that much of a daunting task. There are only various basic steps that you must do to ensure that your main circuit breaker is changed correctly. For instance, you must connect the wires correctly so that you won’t face many issues in regards to replacing your circuit breaker. In addition, If you are interested in how much it will cost to replace them, this article is for you.

Perhaps you may ask yourself: how to replace a 200 amp main breaker. Don’t fret, changing main breakers is all the same — this process could be applicable to every circuit breaker in each household.

Have you learned anything from this article? Do you now know how to change the main circuit breaker? If you’re still confused, then don’t hesitate to drop any of your questions down below the comment section.

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