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how to test a circuit breaker with the use of a multimeter bellvue co

How to Test a Circuit Breaker With the Use of a Multimeter

A risk of a possible overload can be eliminated by testing a circuit breaker. Faulty circuit breakers need replacement to prevent short circuits and other electrical problems.

Your electrical breaker needs to be checked properly. Using a special multimeter device will help you to test the circuit breaker and ensure it is functioning accurately. You can learn to check circuit breakers with a digital multimeter. However, you can always hire professional electrical contractors to perform a complete inspection of your electrical system. If the electrical breaker is not working properly, the risk of electrical overload increases drastically leading to a short circuit or even a fire.

How to test a circuit breaker


Multimeters break all the time. Here’s what you should to if you’re dealing with a faulty multimeter: open the circuit box and choose which electrical breaker you need to test. Each breaker gives power to a different portion of your house. You should always turn off appliances and lights that are powered with the breaker you are going to test. It is essential to know how to test a circuit breaker to avoid the additional cost of repair services and save time. Ensure that you wear rubber shoes and dry the area around the circuit breaker as well. Then, you will have two options:

Option #1: Voltage Testing

You can test the voltage of the electrical breaker directly in the main outside panel. You should be careful while working with live electricity. Opt for professional assistance to check the breakers. You will know about a faulty circuit home circuit breaker if the voltage reads zero or below the standard value.

1. Open the Circuit Breaker

Use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew the metal frame of the main breaker panel outside, you will see circuit breakers and the wiring. Before removing the last screw, ensure that you are holding it correctly to avoid any accidents.

2. Shift the Multimeter to AC Voltage

Set your multimeter to Volts AC, because in most homes the wiring uses alternating current. One prong of a multimeter is touched with the home circuit breaker’s terminal screw and the other to the ground screw is located on the ride side in a metal bar. In simpler words, put the black test lead in the common socket terminal and the red test lead in the voltage socket terminal. After testing the electrical breaker if the multimeter does not show any reading, it means you have a faulty breaker that needs to be replaced. Some multimeters require setting an appropriate voltage value. Use a higher voltage value. A digital multimeter reading of 120 or 240 volts means your breaker is functioning perfectly.

Option #2: Resistance Testing

You can also check a faulty electrical breaker via resistance testing. Use your digital multimeter to determine the functioning of the breaker. If you need circuit breaker replacement, this method is very helpful before you install the new breaker in the panel. You won’t be needing live electricity in this method, which makes it a safer approach.

Begin with shifting your multimeter to resistance settings or ohms. Put one lead in the screw terminal and the other lead in the clip or the supply terminal. Wondering How to test a circuit breaker with resistance testing? You should see a resistance reading when you switch on the breaker. There will be no reading when you switch it off. For a double pole breaker, follow the same process.

If you don’t have resistance when the breaker is switched on or switched off, it means your home circuit breaker needs a replacement.

How to Test a Circuit Breaker


Get professional assistance from our highly trained electricians; The electricians at Prolectric will effectively fulfill all your electrical needs. We ensure a prompt response in case of an emergency.

Prolectric provides services in and around the following locations:

  • Bellvue, CO
  • Wellington, CO
  • Fort Collins, CO

Call us now if you find any faulty breaker. Your safety is our priority.

Get in Touch With Us

At Prolectric Electrical Services, our electrical contractor is ready to provide you with the professional assistance you need. Schedule a service by calling (970) 222-4740 or filling out the contact form below.