Help changing circuit breakers

I was having problems with my lights becoming very dim in the house then coming back on very quickly, along with some other problems. I called the local electric company and he checked the feed? coming in my house and said it was fine. He then opened and looked at my circuit breakers. He said they were very old and rusty and if it was his house he would replace all of them. He showed me how easy it was and just pulled one out, no screws holding it or anything. He said it was a job I could safely and easily do myself. He made it look very easy. Yesterday I went outside, which is where my breaker box is and was going to remove one and take it to the store and get a couple and replace them. They just snap in on one side, the inner side and when pulled out they do not have electricity flowing through them,,,he said Is there a web site that shows how to do this? He pulled it out very easy, I can't seem to do this. Maybe I'm not strong enough, could I use something to pry this out? Thanks
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Karen: Be careful please. It would be best to turn off ALL power in the house by switching off the single main circuit breaker before you pull out individual circuit breakers. Even if each circuit breaker is off (and as you mentioned possibly faulty?) there is electricity on the buss bars below, into which the circuit breakers are plugged. And if something such as a metal screwdriver being used to pry out the breakers, slipped! Zap ............ !!!! I would not advise prying at them if you are not familar with how they detach and attach. You could study one that has been removed to see how it clicks, locks and or plugs in. But you could do damage to the circuit breaker panel itself by prying pressure exerted in the wrong place. It would be worth getting some help since you appear to be not very familiar with electricity? Your breakers may well be old and faulty. If they are mounted 'outside', which is the case with some mobile homes etc. they may be more exposed to the weather than those mounted inside. Is the circuit breaker panel corroded in any way? Also, and not to be negative, are you sure that the breakers are the ONLY problem? What is the age, condition and type of your residence wiring. Is it possibly for example, aluminum wiring? Are the switches and outlets in good condition? Your family safety and house insurance require you to keep it in good condition. Are your smoke alarms installed and working? Just in case. Not to alarm just be safe. Best of luck. Terry.
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wrote:

Thanks I have copper wiring and live in a house. All the houses in my subdivision have the box on the outside. Yes the box it's self is a little rusty but the guy said the insides looked ok, except for the age of the breakers, which is 1967 on all of them. I will give it another go tomorrow when it's dry outside. No I'm not really sure the breakers are the only problem but guess I will start with them,,,,if I can remove them:) Thanks again
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I'd trying flipping all the breakers on and off a few times and see whether the dimming problem goes away. If it does, you know the problem is (was?) in the breaker. Perhaps the metallic contacts inside the breaker are a bit rusted/corroded.
Karen wrote:

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Make sure that, as your're replacing them, you put the correct amperage breakers back on the same wires as previous, and in the same slot position as well.
If you mix 2 wires up, you may end up with a couple of 220v loads not working, or 2 120v circuits which share a neutral ending up on the same leg of your service, which could cause a fire.
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Karen posted for all of us....

Please post the manufacturer, you will get more of a helpful response to the question asked. As a word of advice the breakers may/not be the cause/solution to your problem. Your lack of experience (I am NOT flaming here) may cost you unnecessary money/trauma. Electricity kills... perhaps your neighbors could recommend an electrician. It may be cheaper in the long run. Please post back your results.
--
Tekkie

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Sounds like you'd do yourself a favor to have an electrician do the job for you. Or a handyman. Electricity is nothing to mess with. I've been in a lot of electrical panels, and it still makes me nervous. (and well it should; the moment you get comfortable, you get zapped).
--

Christopher A. Young
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On Tue, 21 Sep 2004 22:31:39 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Thanks to everyone for their advice and concern. I'm not sure of the manufacture because I haven't been able to get one out to look at it. Believe me I will be careful. If it stops raining today I will give it another go. You're right I can't afford to pay an electrician to do this job. If my fingers aren't strong enough to pull the breakers out I will have to ask someone to help me. I will post back with the results after I'm finished. As far as mixing the wires up I'm only going to do one at a time and the way it was explained to me one side of the box has 120, and the other side has 120, so except on the big breakers I don't see how I could mess that up but will be careful. The guy that was here even left me some white tape to use to write on the wire as I pull it off where it goes back. Thanks
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2004 06:26:12 -0400,

Jesus... another bites the dust.
Stop this idiot before she hurts herself..
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2004 06:26:12 -0400,

Jesus... another bites the dust.
Stop this idiot before she hurts herself..
I'm cross-posting this for your own good. Please read the expert opinions..
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I figured it was only a matter of time before someone started calling me names. You don't even know me. If a man were asking for advice would he also be an idiot? Thanks to those that did give me advice and warnings. I'm not going to lower myself to your level and call you names. I may not know how to change breakers, but I do know how to use a computer. I won't be back to read further flames. If I want to hear name calling like that I will call my X-boyfriend.
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|>Stop this idiot before she hurts herself.. | | I figured it was only a matter of time before someone started calling me | names. You don't even know me. If a man were asking for advice would he | also be an idiot?
Not because of merely asking for advice, but for getting into things they are not prepared to safely handle. For men asking for advise (which they more often don't do) we don't generally try to actually intercede; we just tell them they could kill themselves, then we let Darwin's nature take its course.
With women, I think there is a greater propensity for men to intercede and avoid someone killing themselves. I'd hope other women would do the same for women.
| Thanks to those that did give me advice and warnings. I'm not going to | lower myself to your level and call you names.
Oh good. I was worried there for an instant.
| I may not know how to change breakers, but I do know how to use a | computer. I won't be back to read further flames. If I want to hear name | calling like that I will call my X-boyfriend.
That's what they're there for.
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Phil Howard KA9WGN | http://linuxhomepage.com/ http://ham.org/ |
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2004 08:32:30 -0400,

Don't be so sensitive Karen. I got your attention, didn't I? I am concerned about someone working on a *live* panel with no electrical knowledge. It doesn't matter to me what your gender is. If you insist on doing the job yourself, ask the guys in this forum about safety precautions. Ohh, and BTW, I'm single. Did I already blow my chances? :)
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How would she know? And who the hell is My Chances?
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I like this guy! Always thinking, how can I get ....................
Proclaimed on Wed, 22 Sep

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Yes, folks call men names, too. It isn't (always) a sexist thing. But it can be.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Hi Karen, don't pay any attention to the timid individuals who don't have enough guts to try and do something dangerous on their own! You know electricity is dangerous...you know to wear rubber gloves...don't be grounded...stand on a rubber mat while working on your breaker box...go to an electrical supply house and have the name of the circuit breaker box manufacturer...the amperage ratings of the breakers you want to replace...and you will get the correct hardware
don't take any substitutes! If the guy says it's the same you are asking for trouble getting it to go in...just call supply houses until you get one that stocks the exact same brand breaker box and breakers you have in your house...
after you get your equipment back to the house, hold one of those new breakers up in front of the breaker box as if you were going to slide it into place...you see the little notch on the back? If you slide that little notch into position first...then the breaker will snap right into place! Now, you can tell which way to pop that old breaker to make it snap out. If you aren't strong enough...take a blunt instrument like a screwdriver "handle" and tap it against the flip switch a few taps to dislodge that breaker...it will come out. Just know you are hitting it in the right direction because if you keep hitting it in the direction to which it was installed it will never come out.
You are probably saving yourself several hundred dollars!
Regards, Bill
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On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 05:40:36 -0500, G. Morgan put forth the notion that...

Sounds like a Stab-Lok breaker... can't get 'em in, can't get 'em out.
--
Checkmate

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Most circuit boxes, every other breaker is on a different "leg" of the power. So..... what you don't know can sometimes hurt you.
Let us know how it works out.
--

Christopher A. Young
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