I went to replace my circuit breaker for my dryer because the dryer kept shutting off. I started checking around and discovered when you jiggle the breaker a little the dryer light flicker. I decided to replace the breaker which is something that I have done before in the past. the problem I am have is the breaker will not pop out as the other breakers do. this is a dual pole 240V breaker. The single pole breakers pop right out but some don't either. hope someone can help.


2 Answers 2


First item of order is to identify this breaker panel and find out if there is a national recognized fire hazard danger from the make and model breaker panel you have installed.

Square D, Zinsco/Sylvania and Federal Pacific had failure modes where this happens.

Stop, call a qualified electrician and have them inspect the panel. The bus bar contacts are burned and the circuit breaker may have partially welded itself to the contact. At this point, the meter needs to be pulled if you don't have a 200A main breaker that shuts the panel off. Any force trying to remove the breakers that breaks the insulators holding the bus in place will put you in a potentially deadly or high property damage situation if you do not cut the power before proceeding.

In the case of Sylvania/Zinsco, the aluminum bus bar may burn through from the arcing. The only over-current protection you have will be the transformer fuse which will blow only after the bus bar has completely consumed itself in an arc flash fire if it contacts the grounded panel housing.


No screws holding it in? Some older panels had push-in small breakers and screw-in large ones.

If no, your breakers are possibly corroded in place. Pull one of the breakers that comes out easily and look at the contacts in the box. Shiny, or dull and pitted?

If the dryer breaker won't move easily you will probably have to force it out. Not difficult but it will expose high voltage components. Turn the main breaker off, remove everything around the dryer breaker and then apply some force until it either comes out or breaks. The use pliers to pull out the various pieces.

One warning with this method: you cannot stop, and you cannot go back. You must complete the repair before turning the power back on.

You may discover that your panel's main busbar is corroded beyond use - this means calling an electrician to replace the panel so I suggest you start the repair Tuesday morning.

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