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How to Test a Circuit Breaker with a Multimeter

A broken circuit breaker increases the risk of an electrical overload occurring in your home. An overload can cause a short circuit to occur and in extreme cases, can pose a fire risk.

Testing a circuit breaker is necessary to determine the flow of electricity in a circuit breaker panel. The most efficient way to test a circuit breaker is with a multimeter. A multimeter is a measuring instrument that works to combine several measurement functions in one unit. A multimeter can measure volts, amps, and ohms through outlets, fixtures, and breakers.

Here are the steps an electrician will follow to test your circuit breaker with a multimeter:

Testing a Circuit Breaker with a Multimeter

  • First, the electrician will make sure the area around the electrical panel is dry. If there is any standing water on the ground, the service professional will mop it up before opening the electrical panel.
  • To check a breaker with a multimeter, the electrician will open the circuit breaker box and determine which breaker will be tested.
  • The electrician will then turn off all lights and appliances that are being powered through the circuit breaker being tested.
  • The AC volts setting (usually abbreviated “ACV”) is the multimeter setting the service technician will use to test the circuit breaker.
  • He or she will touch one prong of the multimeter to the breaker’s terminal screw and touch the other prong to a ground screw. The ground screw is usually located in a metal bar along the right-hand side of the electrical panel.
  • Once these prongs are connected, the readout on the multimeter will display the potential voltage at the breaker position.
  • If the reading is zero, then the breaker is faulty and need to be replaced.

Because circuit breakers and electrical panels pose a lethal shock risk, only a licensed electrician should test, diagnose, or service your circuit breakers!

Contact Mr. Electric for Circuit Breaker Service

Testing a circuit breaker isn’t a task suitable for everybody. If you suspect your circuit breaker has any kind of problem, it’s worth getting a professional’s opinion. Call Mr. Electric® today at (844) 866-1367 and have any necessary repair completed on the spot.

This blog is made available by Mr. Electric for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.