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How To Replace a Pushmatic Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breaker 6

Replacing a Pushmatic circuit breaker might seem like a daunting task, especially for those who are not familiar with electrical work. However, with the right tools, safety precautions, and step-by-step instructions, you can safely and effectively replace a faulty breaker. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide detailed instructions on how to replace a Pushmatic circuit breaker, common problems you might encounter, and safety precautions to take.


To replace a Pushmatic circuit breaker, first turn off the main power. Then, remove the panel cover and identify the faulty breaker. Unscrew the faulty breaker from the busbar terminal and disconnect the hot conductor. Install the new breaker by connecting it to the busbar terminal and attaching the hot conductor. Replace the panel cover, turn the main power back on, and test the new breaker to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Always remember to take safety precautions when working with electricity.

Identifying a Faulty Pushmatic Circuit Breaker

Before you begin the replacement process, it’s essential to identify the signs of a faulty Pushmatic circuit breaker. Frequent tripping, failure to reset, external damage, and overheating are all indicators that your breaker needs to be replaced. If you notice any of these signs, switch off the main circuit breaker and consult a professional electrician.

Tools and Materials Needed

To replace a Pushmatic circuit breaker, you’ll need a few essential tools and materials:

  • Replacement circuit breaker
  • Multimeter or voltage tester
  • Screwdrivers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire strippers

Before starting the replacement process, gather all the necessary tools and materials to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Step-by-Step Replacement Instructions

Follow these detailed instructions to replace your Pushmatic circuit breaker:

  1. Turn off the main power.
  2. Remove the panel cover using a screwdriver.
  3. Identify the specific Pushmatic breakers you need to replace.
  4. Remove the faulty breaker by unscrewing it from the busbar terminal and disconnecting the hot conductor.
  5. Install the new breaker by connecting it to the busbar terminal and attaching the hot conductor.
  6. Replace the panel cover and secure it with screws.
  7. Turn the main power back on and test the new breaker to ensure it is functioning correctly.

Safety Precautions

When working with electricity, safety should be your top priority. Always wear protective gear, use insulated tools, and make sure the power is turned off before starting any work. If you encounter any issues or are uncomfortable performing the replacement yourself, consult a professional electrician.

Potential Problems and Common Mistakes

While replacing a Pushmatic circuit breaker is straightforward, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. These include using incompatible breakers, ignoring safety precautions, not properly identifying the faulty breaker, not securing the breaker properly, not reconnecting wires correctly, and not testing the new breaker.

Ensuring Proper Functionality

After replacing the breaker, it’s essential to test it to ensure it’s working correctly. Turn on the devices connected to the new circuit breaker and ensure they are functioning correctly. If the breaker trips immediately, there may be an issue with the new breaker.

In conclusion, replacing a Pushmatic circuit breaker is a manageable task when you have the right tools, knowledge, and safety precautions. However, if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a professional electrician.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Pushmatic circuit breaker?

A Pushmatic circuit breaker is a type of circuit breaker used in some home electrical panels. They are known for their unique push-button design as opposed to the more common toggle switch style.

How can I tell if my circuit breaker is a Pushmatic?

Pushmatic breakers can be identified by their distinctive push-button style. They are usually labeled with the word “Pushmatic” on the breaker itself.

What should I do if my new circuit breaker keeps tripping?

If your new circuit breaker keeps tripping, it could indicate a problem with the breaker itself or an issue with the circuit it’s protecting. It’s best to consult a professional electrician to diagnose and fix the problem.

Can I use any replacement circuit breaker, or does it have to be a specific type?

It’s crucial to use a replacement breaker that is compatible with your electrical panel. Using an incompatible breaker can lead to serious safety hazards. When in doubt, consult with a professional electrician.

Is it safe to replace a circuit breaker myself?

While it’s possible to replace a circuit breaker yourself, it involves working with high voltage electricity and can be dangerous if not done correctly. Always follow safety precautions, use insulated tools, and turn off the main power before starting. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to hire a professional electrician.

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