How to remove breaker from panel

Thread Starter

alchemizt

Joined Mar 23, 2021
34
One of the breaker switches in my panel is broken so I need to remove it. All the breakers were snapped into place on this metal strip in the breaker box. I cant just click them off like I usually would, this time theyre locked tight into place. How do you remove them when theyre locked into place like that?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,058
First step is to open the main breaker for the main feed to the entire panel. It should be locked out if a lockout device is available. Then the face plate cover of the panel can be removed to access the breakers and their wiring connections. Test to ensure the main panel buss is deenergized! Remove the wiring to the faulty breaker to be replaced and remove and replace the faulty breaker. Then reverse the procedure and close up the panel. If you are having problems removing the breaker from the buss, consult your local electrical supply house for removal instructions for your particular brand of breaker or Google it. Or, hire a licensed electrician...
 
Last edited:

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
9,980
Circuit breaker designs are different depending on which country you are in. Photos would definitely help!
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
4,186
If your Breaker-Panel is made by "Zinsco",
it is a Fire-Hazard, and a cheap piece of garbage,
have the entire Breaker-Panel replaced by a Licenced-Electrician.

If the Panel is not already burned-up,
any good, usable Zinsco Circuit-Breakers are worth
around ~$50.oo each to any Residential-Electrical-Contractor,
~$100.oo each for good Dual-Breakers.
.
.
.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
16,988
All the breakers were snapped into place on this metal strip in the breaker box. I cant just click them off like I usually would, this time theyre locked tight into place. How do you remove them when theyre locked into place like that?
I have two different brands of breaker panels and the snap in breakers just pull out. There's a clip that clamps onto the bus bar, so it takes some force to remove.

If you don't know what you're doing, hire someone who does.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,910
Before using a lot of force, be sure that the breakers are not held in place by a screw. There are at least two brands that use a screw to connect a tab to the bus bar. But if it is that poor quality brand then replacing the whole thing makes sense. Replacing the breaker panel, or fuse box, is only safe with the main feed switched off.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,943
If your Breaker-Panel is made by "Zinsco",
it is a Fire-Hazard, and a cheap piece of garbage,
have the entire Breaker-Panel replaced by a Licenced-Electrician.
Just had my Zinsco panel replaced yesterday. Happy happy happy to have that fused bomb removed from my house. Now I have a bunch of breakers, some made in the Zinsco shape but some made by Magnetrip and others made by "Unique Breakers Inc.".

Both the Zinsco and Siemen's (the current breakers in my new panel) plug in and lock in by spring tension. They're not easily pulled out but they're not difficult. Unless yours are fastened mechanically then you should be able to pry them out. Go slow and don't force anything. If it won't yield then find someone who knows what kind of breaker you have and how it's mounted.

Wednesday night at 8:01 PM you posted your question. That left all day Thursday for a reply from you, but no reply. Now it's Friday morning and we don't know if you've gotten the breaker out or not. If you've solved your problem please let us know so we don't keep posting in response to your question.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
7,943
In THIS post you had an issue with a breaker not outputting a voltage. The breaker is mechanically fastened to a board and not in a panel. Have to wonder what you're doing and if you care to do it right or to just get it done without regards for potential consequences.
 

Thread Starter

alchemizt

Joined Mar 23, 2021
34
Can anyone help me to understand this panel (see photo attached) please. So the first switch on the left is the main switch that feeds the rest of the panel. The second switch is a "differential" circuit breaker which will trip if theres a current leak (like a person accidentally touching a wire). Switching this off will also cut off the power to all of the following switches.

Is this a good setup for a breaker box? An electrician installed this, Im learning all this myself so want to understand why he did it like this.

So the main switch is a thermal switch that trips if the current flowing through the switch exceeds 40A, and the differential switch will trip if there is a current leak, so both of these switches are necessary to protect against different types of hazardous conditions? Then the rest of the cirvuit breakers are thermal switches that all have lower amperage than the main thermal switch. Is this the standard setup for a breaker box?
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Thread Starter

alchemizt

Joined Mar 23, 2021
34
I found out that there are these clips on all of these models of circuit breakers that slide downwards, so sliding these clips downwards, the breakers come off the bus.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
34,669
Why does the 40A thermal switch come before the 40A differential switch. Why not just run the main cable directly into the differential switch?
Because they protect against two entirely different faults.
The 40A breaker protects the wiring against a current overload.
The differential switch (also called a ground fault interrupter) opens from a small (few mA) current to ground to protect a human from electrocution.
 

Thread Starter

alchemizt

Joined Mar 23, 2021
34
Because they protect against two entirely different faults.
The 40A breaker protects the wiring against a current overload.
The differential switch (also called a ground fault interrupter) opens from a small (few mA) current to ground to protect a human from electrocution.
Ah yes, I get it now. A ground fault interruptor wouldn't protect against a current overload like a thermal switch does then. I see that this is a 40A differential switch. What does this mean? What will happen if 40A or more flows through this diffential breaker?
 

Thread Starter

alchemizt

Joined Mar 23, 2021
34
I looked at a breaker and wire size chart, and it says 12 guage wire should have a 20A breaker. The electrician who setup my box, used 12 guage wire to feed the breaker box, but the main breaker switch is 35A. I'm trying to gain a good understanding of how all this works. Is this 35A thermal breaker switch way too high to protect a 12 guage wire circuit like this?

All of the other thermal switches he installed are 20A. Even for the lighting circuit which uses 10 guage wire.
 

Attachments

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,910
In the US, most electrical codes demand that circuits using#12 wire have at most 20 amp fusing for overload protection. And for a 30 amp circuit the requirement is at least #10 wire. So for that 35 amp breaker the code will require #8 wire.
so certainly the person who used #12 wire for the main feed did not follow those rules. certainly a #12 wire is too thin to carry 35 amps without heating to the point of damaging the insulation, possibly not immediately, but certainly over time.

I would never ever use a differential (ground fault) breaker in series with the main feed because then one small fault in one branch circuit will cut off all the power for lighting and heating and ventilation.

Separate fault isolation breakers for each branch make more sense.

Of course there are those who claim that protection from a possible shock hazard is much more important than preventing property damage or darkness during an emergency situation, such as a fire.
 
Last edited:
Top