After replacing 20 amp Eaton breaker and the four receptacles that are attached, breaker continues to instantly trip with a heavy arc.

  • 1
    Did you change the receptacles also or just the breaker? If you also changed/worked on the receptacles then you have a hot wire/screw too close/touching ground, easy to find since there should be a nice black mark showing. If just the breaker the same, but is harder to do/miss.
    – crip659
    Mar 10 at 1:14
  • 2
    Was the old breaker doing the same thing? Can you go ahead and remove the wire from the breaker? And then test to see if the breaker holds then. Make sure to cap off the wire so it can't hit something. Mar 10 at 1:50
  • Does the new breaker have a TEST button on it? Mar 10 at 4:15
  • Welcome to Home Improvement. If you'll take the tour, you'll note that this is a Question and Answer board. Please edit your post to actually ask a question. As it stands, it just a couple of statements.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 10 at 14:52
  • Certainly sounds like you have a hard fault that your breaker was protecting you from, but you wanted to blame the breaker, so you changed it out, and the new breaker is also protecting you from it. Bad breakers do happen, but rarely compared to actual faults.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 10 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


As with a lot of problems, the way to troubleshoot is one piece at a time.

  • Breaker/Panel

Disconnect the wires from the breaker. Turn it on. Does it trip? Bad breaker or serious bus problem. Move it to another space in the panel and turn it on. Does it trip? Bad breaker - replace it. If it works OK then you have a serious bus problem in the original location.

  • Receptacles

Disconnect all receptacles. That will likely be two sets of wires on most of them and one set of wires on the last one.

Turn on the breaker. If it trips then you have a problem in the wiring in the wall (e.g., mouse chewed through the wires or a nail punched through the wires) or you have another receptacle or switch or junction box in the circuit that you have not identified yet.

If it doesn't trip, identify the first receptacle (it will be the only one with a hot wire), turn off the breaker and connect only the wires from the panel to the receptacle. Turn on the breaker. If it trips, the problem is either the receptacle itself or, more likely, the way the wires are connected or the way the wires are stuffed in the box. Replace the receptacle, wrap the screws with electrical tape or do whatever other fix is needed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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