How to Change Out Breaker?


Old 03-12-07, 09:39 PM
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How to Change Out Breaker?

My cabin, built in 1955, has two prong outlets in the family room. I would like to upgrade these to three prong outlets. I figure the cleanest way to do this would be to replace the breaker for that circuit with a GFCI breaker, so then I don't have to worry about grounding the three prong outlets.

I have one panel that has the main service disconnect and all the breakers. Can I safely change a breaker on the panel by shutting off the service disconnect and removing the panel to change the breaker?
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Old 03-13-07, 04:32 AM
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Brian: No need to turn off the main, unless you feel safer doing it. But you should shut down all the circuits first to relieve the load on the main first if you do that. If you turn off the breaker you want to change out, it will flip out from the middle with a little pressure, and the black wire will remain attached. At that point it is de-energized, and you can work on it, removing the wire from under the screw. Installing the GFCI breaker is a little different, as you will have a pigtail to deal with. You will need to locate the white wire on the buss bar that is in the cable with the black one you are dealing with. That white wire is attached to the GFCI under the appropriate screw, and the pigtail is sent to the buss bar. You may have to use a wire nut and piece of white wire to extend the pigtail, depending on where the bar is located in the panel.
If you have de-energized the main, replace the GFCI in the proper hole, and turn on the main, and then each breaker, slowly, one at a time with about 5-10 seconds between, so all the compressors, etc. will have time to go to full spool before you add loads.
Old 03-13-07, 04:34 AM
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That would be how you change the breaker.

Before you do this, ask yourself why. If you need three prong receptacles for the devices you need to plug in, then determine why they have three wires. If you need a ground, then installing a GFCI breaker will not help you. All that a GFCI breaker (or receptacle) will do is make it safe to use an appliance that needs a ground for safety. The GFCI will NOT supply a ground.

If you want to plug in electronics, then do the right thing and rewire at least the receptacles you need to be grounded, or add a ground wire to those receptacles.

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