Multimeter Test for Circuit Breaker Performance

As we’ve discussed in this space in the past, your home or building’s electrical circuit breaker is one of the most vital components for all your electrical needs. As such, it will be an area that should receive regular attention, including tests for certain circuits if you’ve been having issues recently.

At My Buddy the Electrician, we’re proud to offer a wide range of residential and commercial electrician services, including basic attention to your circuit breaker and all its related components. When there’s a need to test your circuit breaker or individual circuits, the most common device we’ll utilize is known as a digital multimeter, a measuring instrument that combines several functions into one and can measure volts, amps and ohms throughout your electrical system. Here’s a brief primer on the general steps our electricians will take while testing your circuit breaker using a multimeter.

multimeter test circuit breaker

Prep and Drying

First and foremost, our team members attending to your circuit breaker will need to confirm the area is properly prepared and safe. This means removing all debris or blockages, but also ensuring there’s no moisture anywhere near the area – including standing water on the ground near the circuit breaker. Any such moisture causes major electrical shock risks, and our electrician will ensure the area is completely dry ahead of time.

Early Steps

Once they’ve confirmed the area is safe and free of hazards like moisture, our electricians will continue to the first steps of the test. These involve opening up the circuit breaker box, then determining which specific breaker or breakers need to be tested – it may be a single one, or there could be multiple experiencing problems.

From here, the electrician will turn off all the lights and appliances that are powered by the breaker in question. This will allow it to be properly tested.

ACV Setting

As the test is being done, your electrician will generally have their multimeter set to the AC volts setting, or ACV. This is the format needed to test this breaker’s voltage.

To do this, the electrician will connect one prong of the multimeter to the breaker’s terminal screw. The other prong will be connected to a ground screw, generally found in a metal bar that’s inside the electrical panel. Once the proper connections have been established, the multimeter will show exactly how much electricity is flowing through that breaker. If the amount is within the normal range you’re doing fine; if it’s zero or much lower than normal, the breaker has a problem and will need to be replaced – which, luckily, we can do for on the spot in the vast majority of cases.

For more on a multimeter test for your circuit breaker, or to learn about any of our electrician services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Electrician today.