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Types of Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breaker Trio

There are three common types of circuit breakers. The basic parts of a circuit breaker are the switch and a moving, conductive contact plate that moves the switch when electricity comes into contact with it. In the circuit box the contact plate is connected to a stationary plate that allows electricity to flow; but if the circuit is overloaded the contact plate will force the switch to flip and break the electrical flow.

A magnetic circuit breaker uses electromagnetism to break the circuit. The electromagnet on this circuit breaker gets stronger with the flow of electricity. When the electrical load exceeds the prescribed currency the electromagnet will be powerful enough to force the circuit breaker lever down and move the contact plate which flips the switch.

Another kind of circuit breaker is the thermal circuit breaker which uses heat to break the circuit. With a bimetallic strip (two types of metal; one on each side) this circuit breaker responds to the extreme heat of the electrical current. Each type of metal expands differently to bend the strip. When the electricity is too strong then the strip is bent at an angle which will turn over the contact plate and break the circuit.

The third type of circuit breaker combines electromagnetism and heat. This device has an electromagnet that protects against sudden surges in the electrical load and a bimetallic strip that protects against prolonged electrical overload and overheating.

When purchasing circuit breakers for your home you will need to discuss your options with your electrician and select the best type of circuit breaker Need link for your needs. You can find a large selection of circuit breakers by visiting https://www.relectric.com.

Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit Breakers

Basic circuit breakers will detect a circuit overload and automatically “trip” or shut off in order to protect the electrical system. Ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit breakers go one step further to detect problems due to electricity being "grounded" by something that's not part of the electrical system. They're used in places that are exposed to water; for instance, they're what prevent you from getting electrocuted even if you get a hairdryer wet.

A typical circuit breaker has a 15 amp rating and is used to handle lighting, and other electrical outlets in the home. Some rooms may require more than one 15 amp rating resulting in multiple breakers. A GFI circuit breaker is used in wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, outside, etc. The GFI breaker is required unless GFI protection is already installed at the outlet locations.

If you are not sure that you have the GFI protection in your home because you live in an older home that may not be “up-to-code” then you can have an electrician inspect your circuit breaker panel and electrical wiring to make sure you have this important protection.

High Voltage Circuit Breakers: Oil Circuit Breakers

Oil circuit breakers are high-voltage circuit breakers that have their contacts immersed in oil. The smaller oil circuit breakers have their poles in one tank of oil; several breakers share one tank. The larger high-voltage industrial circuit breakers require a tank of oil for each pole The oil tanks are sealed around the oil circuit breakers and electrical connections are made through porcelain bushings. Oil circuit breakers work by using oil to quench an electrical arc; the oil causes current interruption when needed. The oil cools the large arcs of electricity so that the circuits do not overheat.

The main disadvantages of oil circuit breakers is the fact that the oil can be flammable and it may be hard to keep the oil fresh and in good condition (requires changing and purifying the oil). If you use oil circuit breakers, make sure that you know how to maintain them correctly. Always do your research and select the type of circuit breaker that will best fits your needs.

Different types of circuit breakers including oil circuit breaker brands can be found by visiting an electrical equipment company like https://www.relectric.com.

How Many Circuit Breakers?

The circuit breaker panel in your home contains separate circuits for various areas in your home. Each circuit can handle a certain power load. If this load is exceeded because something is drawing too much power (a stripped wire, for instance, or even just running too many appliances at once) the circuit breaker will interrupt that particular circuit. So if you only lose power in one or two rooms of your house, you should check the breaker panel before you call the power company. Because of the growing popularity of electrical appliances and “toys” like home entertainments systems, big television sets, and computers, many experts will agree that you should plan for your power use to grow, and install more circuit breakers rather than fewer.

When building a new home you should make sure that you meet with your electrician to specify how many circuits to set up throughout the house. There are codes and regulations that the electrician must follow, so you can't ask them to wire your house in a way that would be unsafe. It is wise to request a minimum of a 200 amp circuit panel with 40 circuit breakers. Now 40 may sound like too many and you may not use them all right away, but if you purchase new equipment or decide to add on to the house, you will have your circuit breakers all ready wired and all you have to do is tie them into the main system.

Installing enough the circuits during construction will save a lot of work later. Adding a circuit to an existing house requires running more wire through the walls. If the circuit box is already wired for more breakers it is simple to connect the additional circuit breakers in the home.

How to Add a New Circuit Breaker

If your home does not have enough circuit breakers to handle the electrical load of the household then you may have to add additional circuit breakers. An overloaded circuit can trip off often or may even become an overheated circuit breaker. In order to relieve some of the pressure you can install an additional circuit breaker in the circuit panel.

Before adding a new circuit breaker you will need to make sure that you have enough amps to handle the extra load and check building codes to see if you need to get a permit first. Once you have covered all the bases then you are ready to add a new circuit breaker.

If you aren't a certified electrician, you should have one come and do the work for you. If you know the proper procedures, you can proceed with the new circuit breaker installation process.

First, turn off the power to the main breaker and make sure there are no live wires in the circuit panel.

Now, remove the panel cover and the knockouts so that you have space for the new circuit breaker. Next, using insulated tools install the proper cable connector allowing enough free cable to snake around the breaker box.

Using an insulated cable stripper proceed to strip the outer insulation of the cable wires and feed them into the correct locations. Connect the ground wire by running it to the ground bus wire.

A single-pole breaker (120-volt circuit) will have the white wire connected to the neutral bus bar and the black wire connected to the breaker. Once the wires are connected then you will install the circuit breaker and push it into place.

The last step is to test the circuit to make sure it works properly. If it does not work then you connected the wires wrong or there is something wrong with the new circuit breaker.

To purchase electrical circuit breakers you can visit an electric distributor such as https://www.relectric.com for a wide variety of circuit breakers and other electrical devices and equipment.

How to Locate the Main Electrical Circuit Breaker

The “main circuit breaker” is usually located at the top of the circuit breaker panel, and it looks like two connected circuit breaker switches. It's important to know where this power box is located in case of an emergency or natural disaster. In many cases you will need to turn off the power to your home if you have an emergency such as a flood, hurricane or earthquake. If the power lines to your house are damaged or exposed, they can be extremely dangerous.

The main circuit breaker, often called the “Double Pole Service Disconnect” supplies power to the home. It will turn on or off all of the power to the entire house at once. The electrical power to a home comes directly from the electrical company’s power line through the electric meter to your main circuit box.

Educate your family on the location of the main breaker box that powers your household. Make sure they know how to disconnect power in an emergency. This information may help prevent disaster, injury or even save a life.

Is Recycled or Refurbished Acceptable?

The growing awareness of the importance of reusing and recycling material and equipment have opened up new doors for all kinds of products. Some electrical equipment and devices can be safely recycled and/or refurbished for reuse.

If you live in an older home it may be impossible to find the right brand and model of circuit breaker to match the other circuit breakers in the breaker box. This can making changing a circuit breaker next to impossible. If this is the case then a refurbished circuit breaker may be your only choice. There are companies that sell refurbished, obsolete circuit breakers and other electrical devices. These companies will certify the refurbished equipment by testing the functionality of the parts and repairing any problems.

Purchasing refurbished parts can be done safely by doing some research first. You should always purchase recycled parts from a reputable company. Research the company by searching the Internet, getting references from friends or consulting an electrician. Check the Better Business Bureau in order to make sure the company’s record is clean.

Once you have found a reputable company then you should be able to safely purchase a workable part to use in your home. For new, refurbished and obsolete circuit breakers and electrical parts you can visit https://www.relectric.com.

New Arc Fault Breakers

Traditional circuit breakers are designed to switch off when there is a circuit overload. This feature is supposed to help prevent wires from overheating because the power is cut when the electrical circuit breaker trips, but electrical fires are still a risk with traditional circuit breakers. In fact, while these breakers are designed to protect the wire behind the walls and the outlets, they do not have fire protection or fire stopping features. Fire producing arcs of electricity can occur in the wall before traditional breakers have time to react.

Because of electrical fire danger and the reality of electrical fires in homes it may be worth the investment to purchase new arc fault breakers for your house. The added protection not only gives you “peace of mind”, but it may also save you thousands of dollars in fire damage. Staying up-to-date on new circuit breaker information is extremely helpful for homeowners.

The new arc fault circuit breaker functions similarly to a traditional circuit breaker but it has small filters and detection devices that sense an intense arc just as it is about to spark. If that was only true with relationship troubles. When arcing conditions are present then the breaker will flip instantly. The new arc fault breakers are readily available at most electrical supply stores. You can find them online at https://www.relectric.com.

What are Circuit Breakers?

Circuit breakers are electrical devices used to automatically “break” an electrical circuit when it becomes overloaded. This safety mechanism can save a home or building from having a major electrical disaster.

When electrical wires are forced to carry an electrical current that is over their set capacity, the circuit breaker flips off the electricity. If you have an older electrical system, an electrical short may blow a fuse, which is a little different than a circuit breaker.

A blown fuse has to be replaced, but a flipped circuit breaker can usually be reset. If the circuit breaker continues to kick off the electricity when reset then the situation may be more serious than just an accidental short circuit from a power surge or electrical overload. In this situation the wiring to the circuit should be inspected and tested by a professional either an electrician or someone from an electrical equipment company. In some cases, however, you may just be trying to use too much power at once. Having many appliances on at one time can overload a circuit.

What Do Electrical Arcs Have To Do With Circuit Breakers?

If you’ve ever seen a welder working on a building, you know a little bit about the power of an electric arc. Put simply, it’s a stream of electrons passing through space from one material to another. This stream of electrons can be very strong, strong enough to melt metal or, in the wrong circumstances, start fires.

So how does this apply to circuit breakers? Basically, circuit breakers are just switches. If everything’s working, the switch is closed, and electricity flows across the breaker into your home. If something happens to overload the circuit, however, a device in the breaker flips the switch open so that no more electricity can cross. That’s when arcs become important. If enough electricity was going through the breaker when it opened, there’s a chance that even after the contacts of the switch separate electrons could continue to pass between them, creating an arc that will continue to supply too much electricity to the circuit and become a separate hazard to anyone who tries to use the circuit breaker panel to turn off power. Because of this, most circuit breakers are equipped with special devices that are designed to “blow out” or dispel an arc before it can cause problems. It’s important to learn about these devices and make sure you pick breakers that suit your power needs. You can find all kinds of breakers at https://www.relectric.com.