Circuit Breaker Won't Seat

Circuit Breaker Won’t Seat: [Explained]


Circuit breakers might be very common but it’s not simple to replace them. Many users who try to do it themselves face difficulties. And circuit breaker not sitting on its place is one of them.

So, why the circuit breaker won’t seat?

A circuit breaker from one brand will not fit on another brand’s panels. Circuit breakers are brand-specific. The makers will advise you to only install breakers made only for that brand’s panel. So you should only employ the breaker types advised for the panel. The right brand circuit should seat easily.

Do you still have questions referring to your circuit breaker? Continue reading further down our article to clear all your confusion. 

Why Isn’t The Circuit Breaker Fitting?

There are so many different manufacturers of breaker panels. So, the size of various types of breakers varies. Despite their apparent resemblance, circuit breakers are from a variety of sizes.

Never use a circuit breaker from one manufacturer in a panel built by another. They are not all the same. Not all circuit breaker panels will take them. Circuit breakers may fit, however they may not fit correctly.  

Circuit breakers are brand-specific, unlike other electrical parts. Actually, the manufacturers will urge you to only install or replace breakers designed specifically for that type of panel. 

Additionally, only employ the breaker types advised for the panel.

In fact, the Circuit breaker may not fit in your panel even though it is the same brand. But this issue is much simpler than hydro shark boiler problems.

These breakers cannot be exchanged because of variations. Mostly in mounting techniques, panelboard lengths, Tension requirements, and general structure. Using a different brand of breaker might result in an electrical problem in a breaker panel.

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Can you Manipulate the Capacity of a Breaker?

If your wire is safe for 20 amps, you can update your circuit breaker to a higher rating. To connect a 20 amp circuit breaker, use a 12 gauge or bigger wire. 

If not, you may need to use fewer appliances on the circuit. Or replace an out-of-service breaker with one of the same sizes. But there might be a risk if there are grounding faults.

Breakers are designed to trip when the current exceeds their rated capacity. A breaker’s amperage rating regularly falls below the circuit’s capabilities. Then it is permitted to upgrade to a higher number.

But, if your smaller circuit breaker kept tripping, it should almost never be replaced with a larger one. Because

  • It increases the likelihood of a fire. Increasing the size might result in the wire or receptacle overheating if the breaker trips due to overload. 
  • It’s conceivable that the issue won’t even be resolved. A short circuit frequently has amp levels in the thousands. Nothing is accomplished by switching from a 20-amp breaker to a 30-amp breaker.
  • It is preferable to solve the problem rather than overcome the resistance. The problem must be fixed if a short circuit is a cause. If the equipment is the problem, it has to be fixed. 

Install the right number and size of circuits, with the capacity to manage heavier loads in the case of an overload. Dedicated circuits would need to be added for heavy loads that would typically consume more than one circuit.

When Should You Replace a Circuit Breaker?

The majority of domestic and commercial electrical systems can tolerate up to 10,000 actions on a conventional circuit breaker. 

As a consequence, numerous trips are unlikely to immediately damage such a device.

What trips the breaker is the issue that may endanger the breaker. The two most typical reasons for circuit breakers tripping are overloads and short circuits.

A circuit breaker has 50 functions that allow it to endure circuit overloads and short circuits. Furthermore, 60 percent of the breakers’ maximum permitted current is used during the test.

This suggests that standard circuit breakers will keep working even after several overloads. High current ratings, like those used in the test, are uncommon in the actual world.

How to Replace a Circuit Breaker?

Replacing a circuit breaker is very simple and with some guidelines, anyone can do it themselves. We are going to show you how you can replace your circuit breaker with the tools you already have. 

You’ll just need a flat-head screwdriver. Along with a replacement circuit breaker and finally a roll of painter’s tape. 

So without further ado, let’s begin!

Step 1: Connecting the Wire

You can see a little screw terminal and the end of the breaker. As we get a close-up here you need to insert the wire in between those two small plates. 

You’re not putting the wire under the screw head. Then we’re going to screw it down tight.

Step 2: Mark The Circuit You’ll Replace

After you’re at the panel, you’ll want to identify the breaker you want to replace. Flip it to the off position and mark it using that painter’s tape.

Now, this might seem like overkill. But when you take the cover off the panel, it’s really easy to lose sight of which breaker you’re working on.

Now before you do anything else switch off your main breaker. You want to reduce any risk to yourself. Have a flashlight ready so that you can do the replacement.

Step 3: Remove The Cover

Now you can remove the cover and just take off all the screws using your flathead screwdriver. But remember this cover can be heavy and it won’t stay in position once the final screws are removed. 

So make sure you’re holding on to it as you take it off

With your main breaker off you might not think there’s any power in the panel at all. But it doesn’t work that way. When the power comes in for the street it’s actually coming in from those top three wires. Two black ones and one aluminum in the middle.

Those wires are always live. This means there’s power there and you should never touch any of them. 

The only power that’s off in your panel is from the main breaker and below.

You can also verify that there’s no power by using a multimeter or one of the inexpensive voltage detection pens. They’ll light up and sound an alarm if there’s any power present.

Step 4: Swap the Breaker Out

Grab your flathead screwdriver and unscrew the screw that’s on the end of the breaker.

Once it’s losing you can actually pull the wire that’s feeding the breaker out. You’ll just want to put it a little bit to the side. 

You might be surprised to learn the breakers aren’t held in with any type of a screw or anything else. You can actually just grab the edge of it and you’ll kind of force the breaker outward. And you’ll see that the breaker will actually just come right out. 

That little key on the edge is what actually holds it in. And then it’s just friction that keeps it in place.

Step 5: Replace The Circuit Breaker

Now with our opening ready just grab your new breaker and you can’t just push it straight in. If you try to put it in straight, the breaker will not go in. 

To do it the correct way you’re actually going to insert the breaker at an angle. That little hook, in the end, will engage. 

Once it locks in you can actually push the opposite end of the breaker inside. It’ll definitely feel right when it goes in. 

Just take your wire and insert it into the breaker itself.

Step 6: Put the Cover Back On

Now we’ve just got to replace our cover now. These can weigh a lot. So you want to make sure that you keep a good solid hand on the cover.

Before you screw it down you might even need to wiggle the cover a little bit. 

So that everything kind of locks in position. You’ll know when you get it right. Then you can put the screws in now we can go ahead and turn the power back on.

There you have your Circuit breaker replaced! 


What may prevent a breaker from tripping?

If a circuit breaker breaks without tripping, it must be replaced. It might also mean that the circuit has wiring issues, such as uncovered or loose wire, heating, or unregulated voltage.

How do you determine whether a circuit breaker needs replacement?

If a circuit breaker is hot to the touch or smells burning, you should replace it. Or you can see damage visually. like charred or black substance, or frayed wires.

Do breakers degrade with age?

A circuit breaker may occasionally degrade and become useless. Or it may also cease operating entirely. When a circuit breaker trips on a frequent basis, it is usually due to a wiring problem, not aging.


Now you know why your circuit breaker won’t seat. 

Don’t forget to check the model numbers when buying a replacement breaker. This will help you avoid not-fitting issues. 

Till next time, best of luck!

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