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Do you ever find yourself needing to turn off a circuit breaker but have difficulty figuring out which breaker to “throw”?
I’ve been in this situation many times over the years, and finding the right breaker can be quite difficult indeed if the breakers aren’t marked and you don’t have a helper to assist you.
Well, luckily there are a couple of simple ways to find the right circuit breaker every time with just one quick trip to the circuit breaker panel:
Important: Working with electricity can be extremely dangerous if you don’t have the proper skills to do it correctly and safely.
If you feel at all uncomfortable with your ability to safely make changes and/or repairs to your home wiring I strongly recommend that you hire a licensed electrician to complete the tasks for you. Just sayin’.
Now, having read the above warning, read on if you still want to make your project a DIY project…
1 – Use a circuit breaker finder kit.
These kits typically come with a transmitter that plugs into either an electrical outlet or a light socket and an accompanying receiver “wand” that you use to find the corresponding breaker.
The upside to these kits is they generally work quite well.
The downside is they’re relatively expensive for an item that you’ll likely only use on rare occasions.
2 – Use a standard AM/FM radio.
Simply plug a working AC powered radio (an old boom box works perfectly) into the electrical outlet you need to throw the breaker for.
If you need to find the breaker for a light socket you can purchase a socket adapter for a couple of bucks at Lowes, Walmart or your local hardware store.
Once you have the radio plugged in, tune it to a strong radio station and turn the volume up as loud as it will go.
Now walk to the breaker panel and start throwing the breakers one-by-one. As soon as the radio stops playing you’ll know you’ve found the right breaker!
The upside to using a radio to track down a circuit breaker is it’s completely free if you have a working AM/FM radio on hand.
The downside is you might not be able to hear the radio if the radio and breaker panel are a good distance apart and/or on different floors.
Pretty simple, right? Now you know how to quickly find the right circuit breaker with just one trip to the breaker panel!
To finish up, here’s a fantastic short video that explains how to use an inexpensive electrical outlet tester to ensure that your outlets are wired up correctly (and therefore safe to use). Check it out!
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.