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How to Find the Breaker for a Light Switch in Two Easy Methods

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how to find the breaker for a light switch

Do you have a problem with your room lights? Do you want to troubleshoot them, but don’t know how to find the breaker for a light switch? Here are two ways to easily identify circuit breakers for the light you need to change.

If your room’s light won’t work even if you’ve already changed the bulb, maybe the problem is your circuit breaker. But don’t fret; you can find the right circuit breaker for your lighting even if you are not familiar with home electrical systems.

So, to help you out, I am happy to share this easy guide that will surely help you trace and replace any faulty circuit breaker you might have.

Tools You Need

Before changing your house lighting circuit breaker, you first need to identify the right breaker for your lightbulb. There are two ways to go about this, and these are the tools you need.

1. Using a Circuit Breaker Finder

  • Flathead screw for disconnecting the wire in your circuit breaker & new breaker (optional, only needed if you’re changing your breaker)
  • Circuit breaker finder for easily locating your lightbulb’s circuit breaker
  • Light bulb socket adapter to connect to the transmitter of your circuit breaker finder

Using a circuit breaker finder for light switch can help you identify and label all your circuit breakers effortlessly. Although it may entail an additional expense, this tool is a safe and efficient way of finding the correct breakers for your home’s electrical system.

2. Manual Tracing of Circuit Breaker

You can also use manual circuit breaker tracing to find the correct breaker. Furthermore, most of the tools you need for this technique might already be in your house. It’s also not expensive if you need to purchase these tools from your neighborhood hardware store.

However, this technique takes more effort—especially if there’s no one around to help you.

You’ll need:

  • Flathead screw for disconnecting and replacing your circuit breaker
  • Socket bulb extension cord with a working light bulb for checking electrical connections
  • Light bulb socket adapter for connecting the socket bulb extension cord

Method 1: Using Circuit Breaker Finder


Using a circuit breaker finder to locate your lightbulb’s breaker can give you results quickly and effortlessly. Furthermore, you can also use this device for any electrical connection or to find breaker for outlet while the line has an electrical supply.

Step 1: Plug Your Transmitter to Light Receptacle


To plug the transmitter into a light socket, you need a light bulb socket adapter. Place the adapter into the light socket. Then, connect the transmitter to the adapter.

Step 2: Check the Electrical Connection With the Receiver


When checking the electrical lighting connection or electrical outlet, ensure that the switch is on, especially for a lighting system. Furthermore, ensure that the transmitter you are using is also turned on. You can see the transmitter’s status by looking at its active indicator light.

After connecting the transmitter correctly, scan your circuit with the receiver. I also recommend scanning it twice or thrice to ensure you’re detecting the correct circuit breaker. The receiver should make sounds or have a blinking light to tell you the breaker’s location.

Step 3: Change the Circuit Breaker

Always switch off the main breaker before making any changes to your breaker panel. With the main power disconnected, remove the original breaker by unscrewing its hot wire and then pulling it out.

Plug in the suitable circuit breaker for your lighting, reconnect the hot wire previously unscrewed, then turn on the main breaker. Don’t forget to switch on the newly installed breaker as well to restore power to your room’s lighting system.

Method 2: Find the Circuit Breaker Manually


It is hard to locate a specific circuit breaker. But by reading this guide, you’ll be able to map your breakers with the tools you have in the house. And even if you don’t have these on hand, they’re affordable and won’t cost you much.

However, you will have to expend additional effort or require assistance from a companion to do this. This method is also applicable only for powered electrical circuits.

Step 1: Prepare and Start Plugging the Socket Bulb Extension Cord


You will need a light bulb socket adapter and three-socket adapters if you have a three-pin socket of an extension cord. Install the bulb to the socket bulb extension cord, then plug it into the light receptacle.

Before doing this, ensure your bulb isn’t burnt out by testing it directly to any working light socket. That way, you don’t waste effort because of a defective bulb.

Step 2: Check the Electrical Connection With Your Lighting Set-up

Plug the light bulb extension cord into the outlet or light receptacle you want to test. You must bring the bulb with you to see it from the circuit breaker panel. Once you’re ready, start switching off individual circuits to find out which breaker supports the outlet or receptacle your bulb is plugged into.

However, before doing this, ensure there are no electrical appliances currently plugged in. This is to prevent any damage caused to them due to the sudden loss of power.

Step 3: Replace the Faulty Circuit Breaker

To replace a particular circuit breaker, turn off the primary breaker. Then using your flathead screwdriver, unscrew the hot wire that connects to the breaker. Take out the faulty breaker, replace it with the new one, and then reconnect the hot wire.

Turn on the main breaker and then the new breaker to test your work.

You can also watch this video by TheDurbinCompound for more tips on finding circuit breakers.

Note: When replacing your circuit breaker, consider the current amp capacity of your circuit. However, if you’re unsure how much amps you need in the new breaker you’re getting, you should ask a professional electrician.

Furthermore, if you’re upgrading your electrical system—like adding new outlets or more powerful light—you should definitely ask a professional.

You can also consider checking the top-rated circuit breaker finder guide if you need help choosing the right one for yourself. It includes a list of my favorite circuit breaker finders that I’ve used before as a licensed professional.


How to find the breaker for a light switch? Using a circuit breaker finder or a circuit detective will give you accurate results quickly. It is also more efficient to use as you don’t need to set up and prepare other tools when using this device.

Moreover, checking this list of top-tier circuit breaker finder articles will give you an idea of the best device you can find in the marketplace.

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