There’s a good chance that you have encountered some electrical problems in your home or business that have left you stumped on how to resolve the issue. Although you will need professionals to fix or change your circuit breaker, you can understand how it works and perform basic tasks without being an expert.
We have compiled everything you need to know about circuit breakers so that you are prepared to handle such an issue the next time it arises. Liyond is a popular brand that manufactures almost all switchgear accessories. Along with circuit breakers, you might want to check out their insulation accessories that will protect your power systems and enhance your switchgear’s lifespan.
- 1 What is a circuit breaker?
- 2 Purpose of a circuit breaker
- 3 Why is the circuit breaker so important?
- 4 Types of circuit breakers
- 5 Circuit breaker box sizes
- 6 Warning signs for circuit breaker box replacement
- 7 Conclusion
What is a circuit breaker?
When the current flowing through your appliances is too high, a circuit breaker cuts the power. If there is no circuit breaker, wiring issues or any other failure can easily lead to serious problems. We’re talking about problems that can cause a fire.
In a circuit breaker, there is a spring hooked over a tiny piece of solder. Every electric wire that runs through your house has a circuit breaker connected to it. The electricity flowing in those wires runs through the solder.
The solder melts when the connected wiring is at risk of overheating, which results in the spring pulling the switch off and turning down that particular circuit. You can reset it after the alloy cools down.
Liyond is a well-known circuit breaker manufacturer that produces high-quality products to keep your home safe from any electrical hazard.
Purpose of a circuit breaker
Keeping your home and business safe is made easy with the help of a circuit breaker. The device prevents excessive electricity from causing damage. When there is a faulted current flowing, a circuit breaker interrupts it to prevent further damage to your home. Typically located in your basement, this box allows you to control all of your home’s electricity.
Unlike older houses, where you “blow a fuse,” new homes have circuit breakers that need only be reset if they are tripped (usually).
Why is the circuit breaker so important?
The electricity that flows through your utility company’s line is passed through the meter and entered into your main circuit breakers. Your household appliances, HVAC system, electronic equipment, and even your electronics can pose electric hazards, which can generate shocks, fires, and burns that can do severe injury and property damage to your life and property.
As well as supplying the power, the circuit breaker panel includes safety features that prevent electrical shock and fire caused by overloading and heat build-up. Circuit breakers protect your home and your family from the dangers of short circuits, improper grounding, damaged insulations, voltage fluctuations, and faulty wirings.
Types of circuit breakers
Circuit breakers can be divided into three main types: standard, GFCI, and AFCI. Several models offer dual functions. Each model operates in a different part of the home and has a different amp capacity.
Standard Circuit Breakers
These circuit breakers measure the amps of the devices they control. To ensure a standard circuit breaker can handle any load connected to it, always check the wattage and amperage.
The breaker will interrupt the current if an overload or short circuit occurs – characterized by a hot wire accidentally touching a neutral, a ground, or another hot wire – preventing the wires from overheating and decreasing the risks of fires. Standard circuit breakers are divided into two categories- Single pole and double pole breakers.
In homes, single-pole breakers are the most common.
- Protect one energized wire.
- Supply 120V to a circuit.
- Handle 15 to 30 amps.
- Available in three sizes: Full-size, half-size, and twin/tandem size
The Double-pole breaker panel contains two slots for protecting energized wires. Consists of two single-pole breakers connected together by a common handle with a shared trip mechanism.
- 120/240V or 240V can be supplied to a circuit.
- Capacity ranges from 15 to 200 amps.
- Required for large appliances
2. GFCI Circuit Breakers
Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) cut the power to the entire circuit. Overloads of current, short circuits, and line-to-ground faults can trigger them. This can happen if an electrical path forms between a grounded element and an electrical current.
A GFCI circuit breaker is a good choice for ensuring the ground fault of a circuit and all the components attached to it. For installations such as finished basements, hallways, kitchens, laundry rooms, and bedrooms, they are required on 15- and 20-ampere 125-volt, single-phase outlets.
There’s no need for GFCI outlets on circuits protected by GFCI circuit breakers.
3. AFCI Circuit Breakers
The AFCI circuit breaker prevents a fire from occurring if an unintentional electrical discharge occurs in an electrical cord or wiring. Whenever the breaker senses the electrical abnormality, it immediately isolates the damaged circuit prior to the arc heating up enough to catch fire.
Most arcs occur when electrical wires and cords become damaged or worn. Normally, circuit breakers are not designed to trip in these situations because heat is sustained, not sudden.
4. CAFCI Circuit Breakers
Combination arc fault circuit interrupters (CAFCI) sense and interrupt both arc faults and low-energy arcing. As power cords and downstream branch circuit wiring are more frequently found in homes, these devices are becoming more common.
With dual-function circuit breakers, you will have protection against ground faults as well as arc faults, which will save money and time and provide greater safety. Every 15-amp and 20-amp circuit needs a CAFCI circuit breaker. However, in locations such as bathrooms, garages, laundry rooms, kitchens, and unfinished basements GFCI circuit breakers are required.
Circuit breaker box sizes
The size of the breaker box depends upon how much electricity is being handled by the panel and how many circuits need to be added to the main panel. Someone may ask for an increase in amps or circuits when they need a bigger breaker box.
Find the right size of circuit breaker for yourself before proceeding forward to its installation.
Warning signs for circuit breaker box replacement
Circuit breaker boxes are capable of lasting for 25-30 years if they are maintained properly, but you may need to replace them sooner if you discover any of the following signs:
- Circuit breakers trip frequently
- The circuit breaker will not reset
- Heat buildup in the electrical supply and materials
- A burning smell in the breaker panel
- Physical damage to the electrical appliances and materials
We hope now you are aware of everything about a circuit breaker. Keep in mind that if anything happens to your circuit breaker panel that is out of your hands, call the experts immediately. Do not take risks with your life and the security of your close ones.