How to Test a Circuit Breaker with a Multimeter

How to Test a Circuit Breaker with a Multimeter

Circuit breakers are practically the control center for your building's electricity system, so understanding how they work and how to test them can be a literal lifesaver. Mr. Electric is a time-tested company with certified electricians who know what it takes to troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair issues with circuit breakers, and we are happy to share what we know. In this article, we will go over how to test a circuit breaker with a multimeter. If you still have questions, then feel free to call Mr. Electric to consult with a live professional. We can even arrange an urgent dispatch to your location if you would like a certified electrician to take a look.

Why Test Your Circuit Breaker?

Your circuit breaker plays a central role in managing your electrical supply. The electricity coming to your building is divided into multiple circuits and each circuit is connected to your circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is an automated switch that interrupts the electrical flow in the circuit if there is a short circuit or overload. If you reset the circuit breaker in such a scenario and the power does not return, then there might be an issue with the electrical panel. Testing a circuit breaker with a multimeter will allow you to determine the flow of electricity in the panel. Multimeters are measuring instruments that can measure volts, amps, and ohms. They can be bought at your local hardware store.

Testing A Circuit Breaker with A Multimeter

Before you begin work with a circuit breaker, make sure to unplug all appliances and turn off all the lights that are powered through the breaker you want to test. Next, put on a pair of rubber-soled shoes and safety gloves. Make sure the area around the circuit breaker box is dry and mop up any wetness or puddles around the floor and let the ground dry before testing the circuit breaker.

  • Open the circuit breaker box and locate the breaker that you want to test. Each breaker is tied to a specific circuit in your building.
  • Unscrew the metal frame around the circuit breakers to access the wires running through the circuit breakers.
  • Turn on the multimeter and set it to "volts AC." The alternative, DC, is used to test battery powered devices.
  • The multimeter has two prongs. Touch one prong to the circuit breaker's terminal screw and touch the other prong to a ground screw, usually on a metal bar along the right side of the circuit box.
  • The multimeter should read a between 120 and 240 volts. Anything else indicates a faulty circuit breaker.

Call the Experts Now

As we mentioned earlier, the circuit breaker is a vital part of your building's electrical system. If you would like to leave its maintenance and repair to a certified electrician, then call the trusted professionals at Mr. Electric. Our live representatives and electricians are available around the clock to take your call.

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Call or submit your request here and we'll call to confirm your appointment time. We're available until 11pm weekdays, 10pm weekends. Your Mr. Electric technician will provide an electrical repair or installation cost up front, and options if applicable.