Circuit Breaker Box Installation

Circuit breaker boxes, more commonly known as the circuit breaker panel, protect the electrical circuit in your house from being overloaded or short circuited. Most homeowners with older homes have plug fuses and not the more modern circuit breaker. Upgrading a home to circuit breakers provides a more secure electrical system. In most local counties you will need a licensed electrician to install a breaker box, but if you are knowledgeable enough, you can get a waiver from the building department to install the breaker box yourself.

Turn off the power at the main panel. If you only have one panel and it's the one you are replacing, you can remove the electrical meter to shut off the power.

Remove the old fuse box panel or old circuit breaker box if you are replacing one. Use the screwdriver to remove all the wires and screws that hold the box in place. Gently pull it out without damaging the wires.

Remove the knockouts from the panel with the screwdriver. Push the knockout down and snap it off with the screwdriver. Slip in the cable clamp into the wires and pull the wire through the open holes on the knockout. Push the panel box into the wall and secure it with the drill and the screws via the open screw holes on the panel.

Secure the white cables to the neutral bus on the circuit box. The neutral bus is the metal rack full of silver screws. Push a white cable into each of the silver screws and tighten the screw in place with the screwdriver.

Install the ground wires to the ground bus. The ground bus will be a green metal rack with green screws. Place the bare copper cables or green cables into each green screw and tighten them in place with the screwdriver.

Install the black wire to a circuit breaker. Push the wire through the back part of the circuit breaker and secure it in place with the screwdriver.

Push the circuit breaker into the panel. Place the backside of the circuit breaker on the rack and then push the front side forward until it snaps in place. Proceed to install the rest of the circuit breakers into the panel. If you are placing a 220 volt breaker you will install a black cable and a red cable to the other screw in the breaker.

Place the panel cover onto the breaker box. Secure the panel with the screwdriver. Turn on the main power supply and turn on the breakers to test them. If the breakers snap off then turn off the main power and check for loose wires.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Cable clamp
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About the Author

Louis Gutierrez began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in real estate, construction and electronics. He has over 10 years experience running and operating various successful businesses in these fields and holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, graduating magna cum laude from Florida International University.