Q:

How can you tell if a circuit breaker is bad?

A:

Quick Answer

A breaker may be bad if a circuit running from the breaker panel box has lost power. A process of elimination can determine if a faulty breaker is the problem. Test to see if the breaker has simply been tripped. Firmly move the switch on the breaker from the on position to the off position and then back again.

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Full Answer

If more electrical items that are attached to the circuit turn on when the breaker switch is set to the on position, then the problem does not lie with the breaker. However, if more electrical items turn off and stay off when the breaker is moved from the off to the on position, then proceed to the next test.

Remove the wire from the breaker in question, and test the breaker with a voltmeter. If the voltmeter reads that there is a current running through the breaker, then the breaker is not bad. If no voltage registers on the voltmeter, then the breaker needs to be replaced.

If a voltmeter is not available, connect a light bulb to the breaker screw and the ground within the panel. If the light bulb turns on, the breaker is not the problem.

Another test to determine if a breaker is bad involves taking the wire that is hooked into the breaker and connecting it to another working breaker. If the electrical items connected to the wire's circuit turn on, the previous breaker is faulty.

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Related Questions

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    How do you change a circuit breaker?

    A:

    To change a circuit breaker, switch off the main circuit breaker, and unscrew the load terminal wire. Remove the old breaker, and reverse the sequence used to remove it to install the new one. Use a voltage tester, a screw driver, and a new circuit breaker to complete this task.

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    A:

    To test a circuit breaker using a multimeter, remove the circuit breaker box cover and turn the switch on. Using the multimeter's red prong, touch the screw that connects to the breaker. Touch the grounded box using the black prong. If there's no voltage reading, then the breaker is faulty.

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    A:

    Circuit breakers get hot when the current exceeds the rating of the breaker. The electricity that flows through the circuit produces heat in the unit. When that heat reaches a certain point, the breaker trips and breaks the circuit. Warmth indicates that the circuit is at or near capacity.

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    A:

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