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How To Fix Loose Circuit Breakers

Male Electrician Turning Off Power For Electrical Outlet At Circuit Breaker Box.

Do you have a loose circuit breaker in your electrical panel? Circuit breakers are one of the most important electrical devices in the house or office. A faulty or loose breaker might become an electrical and fire hazard if something goes wrong.

Many people only think about circuit breakers when they trip or hear weird sounds from the electrical panel. However, loose circuit breakers are also something that should be taken seriously.

If the breaker feels a bit loose when toggled, there are a couple of things that you can do to fix the problem. This post will look at how to safely deal with loose breakers and prevent any electrical hazards around the house.

Electrical Danger

A professional technician should deal with any electrical issues, including fixing an electrical panel or circuit breaker.


Before fixing a loose circuit breaker, an electrical technician must wear protective clothing, turn off the main power supply, and switch off the loose breaker. Afterward, they need to remove the dead front cover in the electrical panel and inspect the devices for damage. Finally, tightening the loose screws and wire fittings should fix the problem.

Are you looking for some tips to fix a loose circuit breaker? Stick around and learn more about the proper safety procedures to deal with the issue.

What Is a Circuit Breaker and What Does It Do?

Electric Circuit Breaker.

Before fixing the circuit breaker, you need to know a few things about the device and what it does.

Circuit breakers are electrical safety devices designed to protect electrical circuits from damage. The breakers act as a switch that trips when there is a current overload, short circuit, or voltage spikes. The switches are sensitive to electrical current and open circuits when the current limit is exceeded.

Circuit breakers are housed in the electrical panel. Electrical panels are installed in areas around the building with less traffic, safe from water damage and flammable materials, but can be easily accessed. The panel can also be located in the garage, basement, closet, under staircases, storage, or hallway.

Reason Why Your Circuit Breaker Comes Loose

Conductor Came Loose At Automatic Circuit Breaker Which Caused Arcing And Switchboard To Ignite Of Fire.

Now that we know what a circuit breaker does, getting a loose device can be a real hazard for electrical appliances and the house. Let us identify some of the reasons that might be causing the device to loosen up in your electrical panel.

Old Panel: The first cause of your circuit breaker loosening up is due to old age. Like most appliances, wear and tear to the electrical panel can affect how the screws are held in place.

Vibrations: Likewise, electrical current flowing through the circuit breaker can cause vibrations. Continued vibrations over time can cause the circuit breaker to loosen.

Improper Installation: You might also have a problem with how the breakers are installed. If the circuit breakers were not correctly fitted during installation, it might cause them to get loose over time. Additionally, breakers that do not meet the standard set by the electrical panel manufacturer standards are also at risk of wiggling around.

Faulty Circuit Breaker: Additionally, a defective circuit breaker can also cause it to loosen. Overheating in the device can cause it to expand and potentially loosen it from its electrical panel.

Overloading: Lastly, heavy-load appliances, like microwaves, dryers, or AC units, can also cause the circuit breaker to loosen. As previously stated, when a circuit is overloaded, it trips to protect appliances. However, if the tripping occurs too often, it can slowly remove the breaker from its position, making it loose in the panel.

6 Steps To Fix a Loose Circuit Breaker

If you notice a loose circuit breaker, it is essential to fix the issue immediately. Loose breakers are a potential hazard to your family and property.

However, this is not your usual DIY project. Any electrical issues, especially with high voltage connections around the house or office, should be dealt with by a certified electrician.

Fixing Circuit Breakers

All safety procedures should be followed when dealing with electrical connections and repairs around the house.

That being said, let us look at how to fix a loose circuit breaker.

1. Wear Protective Clothes

The Duty Electrician Of Power Transformer Substation In Overalls And A Protective Helmet Makes Expeditious Switchings

The first thing you need to do before starting the project is to wear protective clothing. Find some insulated gloves and safety goggles for the job. In addition, always have a voltage tester to check if the circuit breaker has a closed connection.

2. Turn Off Main Power Supply to the House

Hand Of Young Woman Turning Off Circuit Breaker In Home

Secondly, you need to turn off the main power supply to the house. The main switch can be located outside the house or in the electrical panel. The switch is often easy to find, labeled “Main Switch.”

Turning off the main power supply is an extra precaution. Sometimes, loose circuit breakers can have an arc fault, where current jumps an open circuit to complete a connection. Arc faulting can be an electrocution hazard.

3. Turn Off the Circuit Breaker

Male Electrician Turning Off Power For Electrical Outlet At Circuit Breaker Box.

The next thing you need to do is find the loose circuit breaker and turn it off.

Most electrical panels have two covers – front cover and dead front cover, that protect the circuit breakers from external elements that might damage them. Opening the front cover will give you access to the circuit breaker switches.

To find the loose circuit breaker, gently toggle on all breakers until you find it. When you find it, switch it off.

You should also turn off the adjacent circuit breakers as an extra precaution.

Hot Electrical Panel

Due to the high current flow, the electrical panel might be hot. Ensure that you are wearing protective gloves when opening the panel cover.

4. Remove the Dead Front Electrical Panel Cover

Close-Up Of The Control Panel Circuit Breaker.

The next thing you need to do is to remove the dead front cover. The cover protects the main busbar and hides live wires in the panel, where all the circuit breaker connections are found.


Though any homeowner can remove the front cover, a qualified professional should be the only person to remove the dead front cover.

5. Inspect the Circuit Breaker for Damage

Electrician Checks The Circuit Breaker For Damage.

It is crucial to inspect the loose circuit breaker for damage. A faulty device can cause overheating, making it loose in the panel. If the circuit breaker is defective, it needs to be replaced immediately.

Additionally, any circuit breakers the electrical panel manufacturer does not recommend should also be replaced with recommended devices.

Manufacturer-Recommended Circuit Breakers

You can find the recommended circuit breaker for your electrical panel on the care label found on the front cover.

6. Tighten the Screws on the Circuit Breaker

Electrician Tightens Screws On The Circuit Breaker.

The last thing the electrician needs to do is tighten the screws of the circuit breaker. An insulated Phillips-head screwdriver can quickly get the job done. In addition, any wire terminals pushed out of places should be carefully secured back to their fittings.

To be safe, the technician should check if all the circuit breakers are secured to the electrical panel.


Loose circuit breakers can be electrical and fire hazards and should be dealt with immediately. In most cases, old electrical panels, vibrations, improper installations, defective circuit breakers, and overloading are the main culprits.

A qualified electrician should always deal with loose circuit breakers. When fixing the issues, they must wear protective gear, turn off the house’s main power supply, and switch off the loose circuit breaker. Afterward, they need to remove the dead front cover, inspect the circuit breaker for damage, and tighten the loose device.

Maintaining The Electrical Panel

Regular electrical panel maintenance is the best way to prevent circuit breakers from coming loose and avoid electrical-related issues. A certified professional should inspect the panel at least once every three years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do if My Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?

Several reasons can cause your breaker to keep tripping. The best thing to do is call a licensed electrician to identify and permanently fix the issue.

How Do I Know if My Circuit Breaker Is Not Working Properly?

Here are a few signs to look out for when you have a defective circuit breaker.

  • The circuit breaker keeps tripping.
  • You hear loud buzzing, sparking, or sizzling noises from the electrical panel.
  • Hot electrical panel.
  • The circuit breaker does not trip or turn on when manually switched.
  • You notice a burning smell coming from the electrical panel.

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