How to Change a Fuse Box to Breaker Box
Are you searching for how to change a fuse box to breaker box?
Trends in electrical systems have changed. Today, a fuse box is considered an outdated electrical component. That’s why most people change their fuse boxes to circuit breakers. But doing that is pretty challenging and potentially dangerous. It requires one to work with live electricity because there’s no means of shutting off the electrical flow from the fuse box unless you request the utility company to pull the connection to your home. That’s why a DIY approach to it is not recommended. Instead, partner with a licensed electrical technician such as AC Electric for this delicate task.
Nonetheless, if you’d like to know the step-by-step procedure of changing a fuse box to a circuit breaker, you’re at the right place. Here are the steps:
1. Remove all the fuses in the fuse box
Before disconnecting the fuses in your box, ensure that there’s no appliance plugged into the outlets. Next, wear rubber gloves, remove the fuse panel cover, and turn off the main fuse. Afterwards, remove all the fuses, including the main fuse.
2. Disconnect the wires
At this point, you’ll see two hot wires and a neutral cable connected from the meter to the fuse box. They are usually larger wires with a white or bare-copper neutral. Disconnect the wires by cutting the wire heading where electricity flows into your property; close to where it’s connected to the fuse box. Label the wires for easy identification during re-installation.
Once done, disconnect the live wires. Remove the first hot wire and wrap its tip with tape to ensure fuse box safety. Repeat the procedure for the other hot wire and finally disconnect the neutral wire. Thick rubber gloves are highly recommended for this stage because you’re dealing with hot wires, which can be hazardous. You should take extra care.
3. Remove the Main Panel Box
The next step is to detach the fuse box’s panel board. Clean the wires on the panel box and set them aside. Remove the wire clamps and conduit connections from the fuse box. Loosen the screws holding the box to the wall and pull it out to remove the panel board.
4. Install the circuit breaker panel board
Position and secure the new circuit breaker on the wall using screws. Sometimes the old mounting holes might not align with the new panel’s holes. In that case, mark the spots where you need holes and drill them.
5. Install the cables and Main Circuit Breaker
Thread the disconnected cables in the breaker box and reattach the wire clamps and conduit connections. The breaker contains two neutral bus bars with connections arranged in a row. Loosen the screw on one connector and slide in the ground wire. Screw it tightly in place.
Once done, remove the protection tapes and connect the two main hot wires, each in its connection slot at the top of the breaker board. Take the first black wire, connect it to one of the connectors, and repeat the procedure for the other hot wire.
A safer approach is first to install the primary circuit breaker, turn it off, and then attach each sub-circuit neutral wire.
6. Install and test the sub-breakers
Install all the sub-breakers needed for installing the black (hot) cables to each circuit breaker terminal and snap the breaker into one of the live/hot bus bars. After turning on the breaker switch, turn on all the breakers one at a time.
In case a breaker snaps off, there’s likely a bare wire in contact with a metal or another wire. There’s a high likelihood that there’s an issue with the connection. Retract your installation to identify the issue. If you can’t solve it, contact a professional electrical technician.
Should I replace my fuse box with a circuit breaker panel?
Most properties constructed several decades ago feature a fuse box to control electrical flow. Technological advancements in the industry have rendered them outdated, and electricians recommend replacing fuse boxes with circuit breakers because of the following reasons:
- A circuit breaker is more convenient and alleviates the need for immediate replacement after an electrical overloaded. Fuse boxes would require replacement in such a case.
- A fuse box is unsuitable for DIY jobs. A small mistake can cause serious problems. For instance, mismatching fuse size with a connector can easily result in a house fire.
- A fuse box is not compatible for use with ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breaker.
- Circuit breakers can handle high-voltage connections
At AC Electric, we offer quality, client-focused, and affordable electrical installation, maintenance, and inspection solutions to satisfy all your electricity needs. If you have an electrical emergency, contact us today, and our certified technicians will provide quality services.
We appreciate your ambition in wanting to do this delicate task on your own. However, we truly recommend leaving this at the hands of a certified electrician because doing anything with electrical can have extremely dangerous risks!