This project is continued from Part 1.
Now that I’ve traced the old branch circuit, it’s time to disconnect the power before replacing the circuit breaker and wiring. The 150 AMP service disconnect on my home is on the outdoor electric meter box. Flipping this switch cuts off power to the entire house and circuit breaker panel.
Had my circuit breaker panel had a main disconnect in the breaker panel, I would have shut the power off at the panel. Just remember that when shutting power off at the breaker panel service disconnect that the main feeder cables coming from the electric meter will still be hot (i.e. energized with electricity)!
Disconnect the Branch Circuit Wires
I’ve marked the old hot water dispenser branch circuit wires and circuit breaker with pieces of blue tape to illustrate what I’m working on in the photos. I placed the tape on the wires AFTER shutting off the power at the service disconnect.
I’m working by the light of a battery powered lantern now because the power to entire house is off.
Remove the branch circuit NM-B 14/2 hot (black) wire from the circuit breaker by unscrewing the clamp screw until the wire is loose:
Pull the black hot wire out of the circuit breaker:
Unscrew the clamp screw holding the branch circuit white (neutral) wire to the neutral bus bar:
And remove the white (neutral) wire from the neutral bus bar:
Release the clamp screw for the ground wire and pull the ground wire out of the bus bar. A pair of needle nose pliers works really well for grabbing a wire that’s buried behind other wires in the gutter of the breaker panel.
Next, unscrew the two screws on the cable clamp that holds the cable in place as it enters the the bottom of the panel. Carefully thread the black, white and ground wires out of the gutters, straighten the wires and pulls the cable out of the circuit breaker panel. I’m holding the cable with the wires removed from the panel in this photo:
The circuit breaker is removed by carefully using the flat tip of screwdriver to lift the inside edge off the hot bus stab. You need only lift it up an inch or so.
Grasp the circuit breaker and lift it out of the panel:
This project is continued in Part 3.
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