One of the details you need to have covered when having a house built is its wiring and power usage. There will always be expenses you need to pay when it comes to that particular aspect, but further complications can arise if you neglect certain details, such as a split circuit breaker. Short circuiting or the overload of electrical wires can be a rare occurrence, but it can also be a very costly one, as the damage can vary and spread through all parts of a home—or even worse, start a fire. A split circuit breaker stops that from happening by effectively shutting down the power on certain parts of a house when an electrical wire corresponding to that area exceeds its normal capacity and begins to overload. It uses a single neutral wire, absorbing the surge through hot wire terminals connected to the multiple outlets that are linked to the wiring of your home.
This article provides you with the information necessary to install a split circuit breaker through the use of a step by step process. Though before you can continue reading this article, there are certain materials you need. Ensure that you own (or plan to purchase) a screwdriver, some masking tape and a voltmeter, along with the split circuit breaker. Once you have everything ready, you can keep follow the first step:
- Turn off the power. The very first thing you need to do (after collecting the necessary materials) is to turn off all the power to your house via its circuit breaker box. Of course, your split circuit breaker must be turned off as well before you install it—do not continue to the next step until you are sure this is done.
- Locate the correct circuit. Remove the metal frame of the box using your screwdriver, which should be easy enough, and look for the appropriate location in the circuit board with which to place your split circuit breaker. Once you have found it, remove the protective tabs with pliers.
- Find the correct wires. Next, search for the wiring that corresponds to your circuit breaker. What you need is a grounding wire, which should be green, and at least two hot wires, which are colored black. To test them with your voltmeter, connect a prong to your split circuit breaker (on the grounding bar), and then connect them on one of the wires. There should be no electricity registering through the voltmeter.
- Prepare the wires for installation. Once you are completely certain, use your wire cutter to remove the insulation from the wires (about half of an inch), and then screw them to their respective terminals. The black wires however will be connected to a terminal screw in the split circuit breaker—to tell them apart, wrap each of them with a bit of masking tape and label the wires however you like. The ground wire however will be connected to both the grounding screw and the grounding bar.
- Add the split circuit breaker. Now it is time to connect your split circuit breaker. Simply snap it in, and make sure that it is firmly in place.
- Turn on the power and test. Finally, turn on the power, and use your voltmeter to check if your split circuit breaker is working. If it lights up, it means that everything is running as it should. Once you are finished, close the box, but not before reconnecting the metal frame.
Having finished all of the steps, you should have successfully installed a split circuit breaker and, hopefully, saved your home from electrical troubles.