How to Convert Fuses in Service Panels to Breakers in Electrical Panels

Written by mark morris
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Convert Fuses in Service Panels to Breakers in Electrical Panels
A circuit breaker panel can be installed in place of an old fuse box. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

You are probably familiar with fuses in your car and home. They are made of a lightweight metal designed to burn through, disconnecting the power in a circuit that overheats or experiences a current surge. This technology works well to provide safety from fire and in some cases protect your wiring and appliances. Circuit breakers are the modern equivalent in house wiring. A circuit breaker works similarly, but instead of requiring replacement after every incident, a circuit breaker contains a switch that can be reset to provide protection for the circuit.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Masking tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Test the circuits in the fuse box. Remove each fuse in turn and make a note of which outlets, light fixtures and appliances are affected. Also note the amperage of the fuse in each circuit. Select a circuit breaker box with at least as many circuits available as you had fuses. In most cases, a box with room for expansion is best, because the additional cost is minimal and it makes replacing the box unnecessary if improvements need to be made.

  2. 2

    Turn off the main power. This is typically located in a box with a single switch; pull it down to turn off the power. Twist the fuses counterclockwise to remove them. Remove the screws from the panel on the front of the fuse box and lift it off to reveal the wiring. Wrap masking tape around each cable and write a label on each to indicate the circuit they belong to. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the wires in place and pull them loose.

  3. 3

    Locate and remove the screws in the back, side or front edge of the fuse box that hold it to the wall. Use a cordless drill to remove them. Pull the fuse box from the wall. Pull the wiring out through the back. Examine the hole. One side will have a stud running vertically up beside it.

  4. 4

    Align the new box on the wall with the top and side aligned with the top of the original hole and the stud on the side. Mark the opposite side and the bottom of the new box onto the face of the drywall. Cut along the line to expand the hole using a utility knife to make the cut. Remove the cut drywall.

  5. 5

    Fit the wires through the openings in the top of the new breaker box. Fit the main power from the main switch through the punchout on the same side of the box as the switch the remaining wires through the additional punchouts spaced along the top as required.

  6. 6

    Attach the main power cable to the screws provided. Fit the large gauge wires into the holes provided and tighten screws to fasten them in place. Locate and attach the ground wire to the screw on the top of the ground block, typically located at the top of the box on one side. Pull the rest of the wiring through, leaving plenty of slack and set the breaker box into the hole.

  7. 7

    Drive 3-inch treated deck screws through the holes in the side of the new breaker box into the stud to fasten it in place. Drive the provided screws through the holes in the face of the box into the wall to secure it.

  8. 8

    Attach each wire to a circuit breaker of equal or greater amperage to that of the fuse it was attached to. Attach the black wire of each cable to the front screw of the circuit breaker. Insert the wire into the hole and tighten the screw. Do the same with the rear screw and the white wire.

  9. 9

    Insert the breaker into an empty bay. Press the front clip onto the connector firmly so that it snaps in place. Press the rear connector in place until it snaps into place. Insert the green ground wire of each cable into an empty hole in the ground block and tighten the screw to fasten it in place.

  10. 10

    Install a breaker for each circuit. Position the panel on the front of the box and screw it in place with the provided mounting screws. Flip the main power switch to the up position and flip each breaker to the on position to restore power.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.