3

I'm trying to replace a regular 20A circuit breaker with an AFCI circuit breaker. I understand an AFCI circuit breaker requires both hot and neutral wires. I assume I need to connect the hot and neutral wires from the same single Romex cable, correct? (i.e., I can't just pick any random neutral that's in the panel).

The problem is, my panel is really filled up and I cannot visually trace the hot wire to identify its corresponding neutral wire. I see like ten neutral wires. Is there an easy way to find which one of those coresponds to the hot wire that I want to put on AFCI? Thank you.

2
  • 4
    You may have to cut the main breaker and push wires around a bit to follow it. But yes, you will need that neutral. It's very important hot and neutral wires be matched and not crossed . Commented Feb 6, 2022 at 4:24
  • 1
    If you have Romex it should be a cakewalk. If you've got conduit it's a different trick altogether but with cable they're together right in the box. Wear gloves, but don't be shy about moving conductors around with one hand to follow where they go.
    – J...
    Commented Feb 6, 2022 at 13:23

1 Answer 1

5

the same single Romex cable

That is the key. If you were in conduit, this would actually be more complicated. But with Romex (or any NM cable):

  • Trace the hot wire from the existing breaker to where it enters the panel.
  • At that point, you should find a small bit of the cable sheath surrounding hot (black), neutral (white) and ground.
  • Trace that neutral wire to the neutral bar and remove it for attachment to the new breaker.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.