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Breaker Test with a Digital Meter

How to Do a Breaker Test with a Digital Meter

Breaker tests can help you learn which appliances have the most impact on your electricity usage, troubleshoot a power draw of which you might not be aware, or identify a problem such as a short circuit.

To perform a breaker test, you will need one person at the breaker or fuse box and one person at the meter. If possible, an electrician should help with this test.

When you perform a test, it’s important that appliances that heat, pump or cool – such as your electric water heater, heat pump, electric heaters, space heaters, hot tub, oven, washer and dryer – are running so you can note how they affect your usage.  For example, you should turn on your hot water faucet until the water heater comes on or turn on your electric space heater to allow the test to show how your meter dial is affected.

  1. Your meter will show six small dashes that appear from left to right on the bottom of the screen as your electrical load increases.
  2. When starting a breaker test, shut off the main breaker. Rotation through the dash sequence should come to a stop. If it does not stop within five minutes, that indicates an internal issue.
  3. Shut off each individual breaker. Rotation through the dash sequence should remain stopped. If it does not stop, that indicates a problem.
  4. Leaving each individual breaker off, turn the main breaker back on. Rotation through the dash sequence should remain stopped. If it does not stop, that indicates a problem.
  5. One at a time, turn each individual breaker on and let it run for 2 minutes. Record the number of rotations through a sequence in a 2-minute period. Repeat with each individual breaker until all circuits are tested.
  6. Use the information you gathered to confirm which appliances are connected to each circuit and perform any additional research into areas where you identify the highest usage.
  7. When complete, reset clocks and other items that would normally need to be reset after a power interruption.

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