Electric breaker is a crucial piece of hardware that helps in breaking the flow of electricity in case power reaches dangerous levels due to unforeseen issues such as an overload, short-circuit, or any type of faults in the electrical systems. These devices have played a monumental role in saving human lives by preventing hazardous events from breaking out resulting in the loss of life and property. It plays 3 essential roles: protection, switching, and monitoring.
There are multiple types of electrical breakers and switches from the ones that offer protection from ground fault for residential areas to the ones that come with alarm functionality along with remoter on/off to be used in commercial and industrial purposes.
Types of Circuit Breakers
- Single Pole Circuit Breakers
These are commonly found in homes and are referred to as single pole circuit breakers as they are specifically designed for monitoring the current flowing through a single wire and trip in case there is an overload. They can accommodate anything between 15 to 30 amps and are capable of delivering up to 120 volts of electricity to the circuit.
- Double Pole Circuit Breakers
Double pole circuit breakers work differently than a single-pole electrical breaker as it’s designed to simultaneously monitor the current flowing through two different wires. These trip in the event of one or both wires being overloaded.
They are capable of delivering 240 volts or 120/240 volts to the electrical circuit and can hold up to 15 to 200 amps. These type of electric breakers are applied whenever a significant amount of power is required in residential setups, like using a washing machine, dryer, pump, etc.
These are used to offer protection against line-to-ground faults. A ground fault occurs when a grounded element meets with an electrical current creating a dangerous power situation. They are mostly used in wet areas where there’s potential for the current coming in contact with water, such as bathrooms, and other outdoor areas.
They are designed to trip in the event of any arcing being detected within the electrical wiring. Usually, this happens whenever an electrical cord either gets damaged or the coating gets too thin so as to pose a fire hazard. These types of faults are not easy for a single-pole or double-pole electrical breaker to recognize and therefore, newly constructed houses must have AFCI circuit breakers installed as mandated by the electrical code.
Components of an Electrical Breaker
Every electrical breaker consists of 5 essential components:
- Frame – The frame is responsible for protecting the internal parts of the circuit breaker.
- Operating mechanism – The operating mechanism allows for the opening and closing of the electrical breaker.
- Contacts – Once the circuit breaker is closed, contacts allow the electricity to flow through it.
- Arc extinguisher – It is responsible for extinguishing an arc in case a fault is detected and interrupted by the electrical breaker.
- Trip unit – In the event of a short circuit or prolonged overload, it is responsible for opening the operating mechanism of the electrical breaker.
Benefits of an Electrical Breaker
- They are more efficient compared to fuses and have a faster response rate.
- They are reliable and offer adequate protection from electrical faults.
- Sensitive to overloads and offer more safety from fire hazards
- They can be reset and reused, unlike a fuse that needs to be discarded once it breaks.
An electrical breaker is very important in terms of safety as it disrupts the flow of current in case of a short circuit or overload. Partnering with a reputed electrical company and having high-quality electrical breakers set up can help prevent fire hazards from breaking out, thereby protecting both your loved ones as well as your expensive appliances.