How Do You Use a Voltage Tester to Test a Circuit Breaker?


Quick Answer

In order to use a voltage tester to test a circuit breaker, access the breakers in the main electrical panel by removing the service panel, and touch the tester's red lead to the circuit's terminal screw and the black lead to the ground bar on the side. Ensure the area is clear of water before testing the breaker.

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Full Answer

Use the following procedure to test a circuit breaker with a voltage tester.

  1. Create a safe environment
  2. When testing an electrical current, creating a safe environment is an important first step. Ensure that the area is free of standing water, and wear rubber shoes because they will not conduct electricity.

  3. Test the tester
  4. There are many different voltage tester brands available, but choose a model that can work up to 500 volts. Some brands make noise while others simply light up. Test to ensure the tester works by using it on something that is known to have an electrical current.

  5. Turn off the power
  6. The power needs to be on when testing the circuit, but turn off the power before opening the service panel. Turn off the main switch.

  7. Remove the panel
  8. Remove the four to six screws holding together the service panel to access the breakers.

  9. Turn the power back on
  10. Do not touch the circuit breakers, especially the bare area where they are plugged in, and turn the power back on.

  11. Use the voltage tester
  12. Once the power is back on, use the voltage tester by touching the red lead to the terminal screw on the circuit and the black lead to the ground bar on the side. If the voltage tester does not light up or make a sound, the circuit is not receiving power.

  13. Replace the panel
  14. Turn the power off again to replace the service panel cover. Then turn the power back on.

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