How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?

by jesonpitt

Today, all buildings must have circuit breakers on the power boards.

Today, all buildings must have circuit breakers on the power boards. They act like the old fashioned fuses but they can be turned on and off. When a fuse “blew” you had to replace the entire fuse or at the very least the fuse wire. A circuit breaker takes the place of the fuse. The fuses were there as a safety precaution between the electricity coming into the house and the appliances in your house. A circuit breaker is a much more convenient product as it uses metal strips that touch when power is passing through and pull apart when turned off.

What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker is a piece of equipment that cuts off the electricity supply when a large amount of power flows through the circuit. The current is connected by the appliance when it is turned on. Most appliances run at low levels of current so when a higher level is detected the circuit breaker cuts the current and the appliance is turned off. The working of the circuit breaker is just like the fuse, when too much power goes through, it overloads and turns off.

How it works?

The circuit breaker sits at the end of electrical wires coming into your house and can be turned on and off. When turned off there is no supply of power to your house. When the circuit breaker is turned on, power passes through the breaker. The circuit breaker acts as a safety electrical product and has dramatically reduced the number of fires caused by electrical appliances.

Why you should have circuit breakers

A circuit breaker is designed to eliminate a cause of fire when an appliance draws too much power. In the past many houses have been burnt down by faulty appliances. The circuit breaker cuts off the power from the electrical wires that enter the back of the power box and go through the circuit breaker and into your house to power points and light switches.

This is a life saving safety electrical product that cuts any power to an appliance. If you turn the appliance on and it is faulty the circuit breaker will break the flow of electricity by switching off in a micro second.

The working of the circuit breaker allows you to turn the power off to parts of the house when an electrician is working. You no longer need to cut the power to the whole house. In years gone by a fuse would be removed from its holder or the main power switch turned off. The fuse wire that was used in fuses was very brittle and the slightest bump could cause it to break, especially if the wire in the fuse was old.

How many?

All large electrical equipment like air conditioners, electric ranges and Jacuzzis will have their own circuit breaker installed.

Most houses will have a few circuit breakers for power points and lights so not all of the house will lose power when a breaker turns off.

Circuit breakers work on a simple technique and it is a fantastic example of an appliance that does big work. Circuit breakers have become an integral part of our functioning day in and day out, and make life easier in several aspects. Most importantly, they make life safer for us and everyone in our environment.

Updated: 05/29/2015, jesonpitt
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