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Question DetailsAsked on 2/6/2015

I need an estimate to replace a 20 Amp Circuit Breaker it appears I fried when I crossed wires replacing an outlet?

I was replacing an outlet in the bathroom I thought was not hot because I had thrown the breaker that led to the light in the same room, but it turned out to be hot and I electrocuted myself, but worse when I later checked if the line was still hot it was not, nor was the 20 amp breaker in the circuit breaker box, which has led me to believe I fried the breaker. Therefore, I need an estimate to replace one single 20 amp breaker in my 200 amp box, and/or to troubleshoot the cause?

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2 Answers


Assuming the breaker is easliy obtained.

Breaker: $10

Labor $80

Total $90

Old hard to get breakers can cost as much as $65

Maybe the breaker simiply tripped.

Switch the breaker to the full off position and then to the on position.

Look for an electrician who gives free estimates

Answered 5 years ago by Kestrel Electric


Guess next time you will check the actual outlet / wires first to see if they are hot, huh. NEVER trust just turning off a breaker - even the right one - I have turned breakers "off" that had a flaw inside and broke when turned off, leaving the connection live. They are really quite fragile inside, because they had to be able to trip with just a very minor electromagnetic force. One place I worked had a maintenance worker take a very fatal hit that way on a 200A 4160V circuit by trusting that an "OFF" breaker was actually off.

Hope you were not hurt seriously, though that Gene Wilder/Art Gurfunkel frizzed hair ought to generate some comments amongst friends.

Once you get the wiring straightened out and make sure you do not have any crossed or miswired connections, you should just be able to turn the breaker (the one controlling the outlet) back on - because it presumably tripped out when you zapped yourself, so neither the circuit nor it not be "hot" until turned back on - presumably it is tripped to "off" now. Unless a very old house, that should have been (for a bathroom outlet circuit) a GFCI or AFCI breaker, so would trip out (hopefully) at the least short.

Or if the breaker in the breaker panel is not a GFCI/AFCI breaker, then the outlet itself should be. You might have a GFCI outlet in one of the bathrooms that protects all the bathroom wall outlets - check for one which looks something like this - Reset button should reestablish power.

If breaker (or gFCI) did happen to fail, then typically $25-50 for modern breakers, more like $35-200 for out-of-production ones for the breaker itself, minimum service charge for the electrician (typically $75-150 except in a few very high cost urban areas) for the changeout.

NOTE to anyone reading this and DIY'ing electrical work - not only are lights usually on different breakers than outlets, but some outlets (particularly in pre-80's houses) are wired with two circuits feeding outlets - so the top half of the outlet is on one circuit, and the bottom half on the other. Was done that way after fuses/breakers began blowing a lot after early TV's and stereos and larger tube radios came into vogue and kids in bedroom with lots of electrical devices, or entire family sitting around in the living room watching or listening and using all the lights and maybe another outlet for a sewing machine too, etc - so they split up circuits to keep heavy use in one room from blowing the fuse, so to speak. Good in philosophy, but has zapped a lot of electricians and DIY'ers who failed to check both outlet ports. You still see it done sometimes today, especially in recording studios, electronic hobby rooms and garage/shed workshops, though not common. Now requires label on outlets indicating it is fed from 2 circuits.

Also, if there is a wiring flaw like crossed or shared wiring or a neutral return fault, power can be cross-feeding from another, live circuit after you shut off the breaker serving a particular location. Also be sure to check ALL wires for power - I can't count the times I have run into the wrong color wire being used as hot, or wires wired to wrong lug on outlets or machinery.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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