Broken Breaker

Hi all, Please tell me what I need to know to change a 20 amp breaker in my main fuse panel. Thanks, S2
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Stuart,
You need to know the telephone number of a qualified electrician. I'm not trying to be a wise ass. This is a relatively simple operation for someone who knows what they are doing. Since you have to ask, I can only assume that you have no experience working on live circuits. There is a lot of danger inside of an electrical panel. Without actually seeing the age and condition of it, I could not say with certainty that it would be easy or safe. By opening up the electrical panel you could be "Opening up a can of worms".
Step 1 - Disconnect the power going into the electrical panel. You can do this by removing the electric meter or if there is a main circuit breaker before the electrical panel. You can shut off the main breaker inside of the electrical panel, but the top of the main and its feed conductors will still be hot.
Step 2 - Remove the cover to the electrical panel. This procedure varies according to the age and the manufacturer of the panel.
Step 3 - Remove wire from the circuit breaker to be replaced. There is usually a set screw for this.
Step 4 - Remove circuit breaker. This varies according to age and manufacturer of the electrical panel. Usually in a residence they would just pull out from the center bus bar, however some manufacturers have breakers that are actually screwed to the busbar.
Step 5 - Put in the new circuit breaker. It should be one that is approved for use in your panel. In your case I suggest that you stick with the same manufacturer of the panel.
Side bar - Whenever I open up an electrical panel I check all of the set screws to make sure that they are tight. That includes the circuit breakers, the neutral bar, and the ground bar. I also tighten down the mains coming from the meter. Aluminum wiring tends to loosen up over time. Do not overtighten. You might strip the set screws. Just make sure that they are good and snug.
Step 6 - Put the cover back on the electrical panel carefully so as to not pinch any wires.
Step 7 - Turn the power back on. When I do this I usually turn my head away in case something does arc. It is not a good idea to get hot metal exploding in your face.
Once again I am not recommending that you do this. Call a pro.
I remember many years ago I got an emergency service call. A retired gentleman who used to be an electrician attempted to replace a circuit breaker in his electrical panel. When I got there, after the paramedics had left, I found the panel cover off and a screwdriver welded to the busbar inside. Somehow he shorted his screwdriver across the two phases and it exploded in his face. He came out okay with some burn marks on his face and hands. The inside of his electrical panel was destroyed and had to be replaced. The fuses on the utility company's transformer had blown thereby killing power to most of his neighbors and to a traffic light. I hope that you have better luck.
Safety first,
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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wrote:

Other posters have given good advice, but they both omitted the same thing.
STEP ONE, before turning off the power, is:
Get a flashlight, and a helper to hold it for you.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Save the baby humans - stop partial-birth abortion NOW
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