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Circuit Breakers: Explained

by admin on July 17, 2020

Circuit breakers are important tools that are used in businesses and residential homes to keep an electrical circuit from damage. Typical electrical damage can come from a short circuit or an electrical overload. Circuit breakers are housed in “breaker boxes” and essentially stop current flow when a fault (an abnormal current) is detected.  This blog explains the importance of circuit breakers and their “load capacity.”

What’s a Circuit Breaker, Anyway? What Does It Do?

Circuit breakers are “safety buffers” for your home’s electrical system. They are designed with an electrical flow load capacity which, when surpassed, will shut down the circuit. Over-loading happens when the electrical current in a wire is compromised and leads to an electrical charge much greater than the capacity of the circuit. When this happens the wires heat up and could potentially start a fire – at the very least ruin electronics and interior wiring.

The danger of a fire or other damage is eliminated with a breaker, which looks similar to a light switch, because of the set load capacity. Unlike fuses, which only work only a single time and then need to be replaced, circuit breakers can be easily reset with a flick of the switch. Once the switch has been re-set, the circuit promptly resumes power to the line. This is why circuit breakers are often referred to as “safety buffers.”

What’s the Proper Load Capacity for Your Circuit Breaker?

Circuit breakers are available in various capacities – and their size is dependent on your home’s needs. There are lower capacity breakers that help protect an individual household – and much larger breakers that protect high voltage circuits for an entire city.  The standard for most residential circuits are rated either 15 amps or 20 amps. With this in mind, a circuit breaker can only handle around 80% of the overall amperage.

Each breakers load capacity rating is labeled on the breaker itself. Just remember that if one is labeled “15 amps” it can realistically only handle around “12” and a “20 amp” can only accommodate about “16.”

Why Is Load Capacity Important for Circuit Breakers?

Circuit breakers are the only direct connection between your electrical wiring system and the power from the electric company. Each breaker is responsible for a specific area of your wiring system – which can only handle a certain amperage. Load capacity ensures that a short or an electrical surge is cut off before real damage can occur.

When a circuit breaker cuts off, that is referred to as a “trip.” If you’re your circuits are tripping continuously, you should call an expert electrician to assess the problem. Circuit breakers trip because of an overloaded circuit (appliances drawing too much amperage), a short in the wiring or the breaker itself is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Why Choose Kanon Electric?

Circuit Breakers are essential for your household’s safety and wellbeing. They are responsible for the many modern conveniences we enjoy every day – and help shield us from the many dangers that could result from an electrical hazard. This is the reason you should contact an authorized electrician to deal with your electrical needs. Kanon Electric is your go-to electrical company. The Kanon team will work with you to come up with innovative, cost-effective solutions that meet your needs and get the job done right.

We thank you for your patronage!

Call Kanon today! 253-302-8199