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How To Bypass a Circuit Breaker in a Generator

How To Bypass a Circuit Breaker in a Generator

There may be times when you want to bypass the circuit breaker on your generator, particularly if the circuit breaker trips more often than it should or if you’re just trying to provide a little extra protection against short circuits. However, there are risks involved with bypassing the circuit breaker, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing before you start this project.

Here’s how you can bypass a circuit breaker in a generator:

  1. Turn off the power source.
  2. Remove the cover plate from the main service panel.
  3. Unscrew the wiring from the circuit breaker.
  4. Tape the two wires together.

Bypassing a circuit breaker can be done with relative ease, and it’s something that most homeowners can handle on their own. If you’re interested in learning how to bypass the circuit breaker in your home generator, keep reading. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on bypassing the circuit breaker with ease.

1. Turn Off the Power Source

Before you do anything, turn off your circuit breaker. For safety reasons, you should never bypass an active circuit breaker. If there is a leak or fire and you need to shut down power immediately, place an object like a brick or cinder block on top of it. However, in most cases, it’s best to turn off power at its source before proceeding further.

2. Remove the Cover Plate From the Main Service Panel

The cover plate of your main service panel houses all of your breakers, meaning you will have to remove it before accessing any of them. Simply turn off all power switches (including those that supply electricity to exterior outlets), and then use either an Allen wrench or screwdriver (depending on your model) to remove all screws holding down both side panels in your service panel.

3. Unscrew the Wiring From the Circuit Breaker

Find and unscrew any wires connected to circuit breakers on your panel board. One wire will lead directly into each circuit breaker—this is where you’ll attach new wiring that bypasses it. The other wire on a breaker may connect anywhere else on your panel board. If you don’t know what’s connected to that breaker, leave it alone!

If there are separate outlets plugged into each of these circuits, be sure to unplug them before making changes to avoid accidentally shocking yourself when turning back on power.

4. Tape the Two Wires Together 

For this final step, follow the instructions below:

  1. Tape two wires together. You’ll need to strip each wire of its protective insulation and attach them to one breaker. 
  2. Once you’ve successfully done that (and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you do it right), screw both screws into your circuit breaker and flip it back on. 
  3. Reset the cover plate and turn the generator back on.

What Is a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a switch within your circuit built to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by excess current from overburdening the circuit. It helps the current avoid electrical damage to maintain the efficacy of the circuit and prevent it from breaking.

The purpose of fuses and circuit breakers is to protect equipment connected to them from surges or spikes in current that could cause damage or injury. Electrical devices can be damaged or destroyed if subjected to sustained high currents (the so-called ‘let-through’ current) exceeding their ratings (source).

When Is It Safe to Bypass a Circuit Breaker?

It’s safe to bypass a circuit breaker if the unit looks intact. If you see sparks or smell smoke, don’t turn on your generator until you have replaced or repaired it.

If a generator’s overload protection (the circuit breaker) is tripped, you should replace it before use. You can test whether or not it’s safe by resetting and turning off the circuit breaker. In some cases, bypassing an overloaded circuit breaker is necessary to continue using your equipment. For example, if there’s no replacement circuit breaker available and waiting for one would put workers in danger.

How To Prevent a Generator From Tripping

While generators are great for ensuring your lights, AC, and appliances stay on during power outages, they’re not so good at protecting themselves. Since most generators don’t self-trip as household circuit breakers do, they risk overheating and damaging your equipment if you don’t take precautions. 

We recommend installing an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) with your generator. AVRs turn off your generator if it gets too hot or overloaded, preventing damage and saving you big bucks in repair costs. The best part is that an AVR requires no extra maintenance once installed correctly and can last decades before needing service.

When You Should Avoid Bypassing the Circuit Breaker

In most cases, circuit breakers are designed for safety. When an overcurrent condition is detected, they’re designed to open an electrical circuit quickly and easily. Bypassing these breakers can increase your risk of electrocution or burn injuries due to contact with high-voltage electrical components or wires.

In rare situations, circuit breakers may fail. Without triggering a breaker opening, your power tool could deliver more voltage than intended. This can lead to burns that require immediate medical attention—or worse.

If you plan to bypass the circuit breaker on your generator, be very careful. Bypassing the circuit breaker can lead to serious safety issues. Not only could it cause a power outage, but it could also lead to a fire. If you are in doubt about whether or not to bypass the circuit breaker, please consult with an expert.

You should only bypass a circuit breaker if there’s no other way to get the power flowing. You also need to make sure that the breaker is off-line before touching it. Finally, be very careful when working with live electrical wires and always take proper safety precautions.


If you are in a situation where you need to bypass a circuit breaker on your generator, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure that the breaker is defective and needs to be bypassed. Second, make sure that all necessary tools and supplies are available before bypassing the circuit breaker. Finally, always wear appropriate protective gear when working with electrical machinery.

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