How To Change A Circuit Breaker From 15 To 20 Amp | Step By Step

Imagine you’re peacefully going on with your life and suddenly circuit breaker trips without any short circuit.

How To Change A Circuit Breaker

Well, it could happen easily as old houses have 15 amp circuit breakers installed, and the most powerful devices we operate today cause them to trip while functioning normally.

So, how do you update them to 20 amp breakers to keep them from tripping all the time?

Well, it shouldn’t be taken as a light task as there is considerable risk involved.

Is It Safe To Switch To 20 Amp Circuit Breaker?

Well, you should be sure if your wiring can take up with the 20 amp circuit breakers before installing them, or you could get into a lot of trouble, even fire could break out in your house.

So, check the gauge, check if the wires could manage the increased amperes.

And secondly, check the type of breaker, make sure it fits the breaker box. Once you are sure about these things, we can move forward.

How to Replace the Breaker?

1. Safety comes foremost. Make sure you are wearing shop gloves, proper rubber shoes as well as leather gardening.

This is important to rule out any incident of a short circuit. Also, make sure you’re not wearing any jewelry or watch, etc.

2. Using the breaker box on the main circuit for the whole house, turn the main switch off to disconnect the whole house from electricity. Make sure to keep a powerful torch or some light with you to guide you in the darkness.

3. Open up the panel which contains all the components, and locate the circuit breaker you want to replace.

4. Uncover the breaker and keep the screws safe.

5. There will be a thick wire going to each outlet. Take this wire out from the breaker.

6. Once this wire is taken out, you are free to take out the side of the breaker to uninstall it. It could also have a screw that could need to be undone before taking it out.

7. Now, install the new breaker by popping it into the place where the old one was.

8. The thick wire which you previously removed is now to be installed to this new breaker you just installed.

9. There will be a brass screw and a silver screw. The brass one is for the black wire, while the white one will go to the silver screw.

10. Now that these wires are screwed to their appropriate places, you have to press the new breaker onto the main panel.

11. Now, you’re all set to go. To check if the installation is properly working fine, turn on the main power supply and check the electricity at different power outlets. You can also use a nightlight to check this.


Changing a circuit breaker wasn’t such a hard task, after all.

While it involves some serious considerations regarding safety, once you’re done with them and have made sure they are not an issue, it’s pretty much a simple road to follow.

You have to make sure you take the proper safety precautions described above, and you’re good to go!

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