I need to replace the 20 amp circuit breaker on my cutler hammer 200 amp breaker box. this happens to be the TEST breaker. what is the difference in the test breaker and a any other breaker if I purchase one?

  • The answer and comments below allude to this, but I'll be more direct: there is no "test breaker" in a breaker box. Some special-purpose breakers (GFCI and AFCI) have more sophisticated electronics to detect faults, and they usually have a "test" button so you can confirm they're working. Pressing the "test" button should trip the breaker. You often see the same feature on outlets in kitchens & bathrooms.
    – Hank
    Apr 5 '14 at 4:05
  • Call around to all the genuine electrical supply houses in the area, not big box stores, not hardware stores, and ask them if they carry Cutler Hammer's full lines. Bring them the old breaker and ask what it should be replaced with. Don't even think about doing this with the $9/hour "clerk" at the big-box home improvement stores, they know nothing, that's why the electrical supply houses haven't hired them. Dec 6 '17 at 21:47

If the breaker is over 5 years old it is a GFCI breaker and it protects outlets at wet locations whether they are outside or at a sink in the kitchen or bath. Make sure you replace it with the same style (GFCI) Also make sure it is bad to begin with by pressing the test button and if the reset button pops out, it is good, press the reset button to turn the breaker back on. This confirms it is good. OR it might already be tripped and just needs to be reset. If pressing the test or reset does nothing, then the breaker needs replacing. If you have never been inside a breaker box, it is a scary proposition for a newbie, I would not recommend it. Please test it to see if it is bad by the instructions above, and get somebody who has done it before to replace it while you watch perhaps....

  • AFCI's also have a test button
    – Steven
    Mar 30 '14 at 16:25
  • 3
    A newbie inside a breaker box is very dangerous. Heed Jack's advice. Mar 30 '14 at 17:02
  • @Steven, yup AFCI's have been around for about 5 years or less. They are a pain too. Still ironing out the kinks so to speak. GFCIs were the same at first.
    – Jack
    Mar 30 '14 at 18:52
  • I'm pretty sure NEC has required them since '99 for bedrooms, so that's like 15 years not 5... I guess it will depend on your jurisdiction.
    – Steven
    Mar 30 '14 at 20:55
  • Correct on the bedrooms, I don't know electric code that well. So I checked online. I was going by my not so good recollection of how long electricians were complaining about AFCIs. In 2008 the code was expanded to cover more areas in the home. That must have been where the complaints arose from...
    – Jack
    Mar 31 '14 at 1:11

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