So, everything you need to perform electrical work or restore power after an overload is in the breaker box. This article provides a complete guide to understanding your homes main circuit breaker.
Each breaker branches off to an area, like the upstairs hallway, living room, or basement. In other words, it makes sure that nothing breaks if you have too many appliances on at the same time and cause a short circuit.
In the event of a fault, the breaker switch automatically pops off and stops the electricity from flowing through the circuit. Other factors that affect the breakers means of operation include the voltage class and current rating specifications.
When an electric current passes through two contacts it takes considerable force to separate the connection. For this reason, a circuit must be broken by force in order to stop the transfer of electricity.
They use the stored energy in the spring to throw the switch and separate contact with the circuit. The circuit contacts are made out of highly conductive metals, like copper and silver alloy.
So, the breakers and circuits are matched, as to not exceed the acceptable current and voltage fault parameters. In the event of an overload to the circuit, the breaker switch triggers with enough force to break the current connection and the subsequent arc.
The breaker switch severs the electrical connection if the contacts preserve an excess of heat or current flow. To restore current flow the interrupted contact must be closed by resetting the breaker switch.
The two power lines that bring electricity into your home run through the service panel. The hot bus bars are where you attach individual branch circuit breakers, which is why they often appear as two parallel rows.
After you complete your work and are ready to turn the power back on, reverse the process. You do not want to create a power surge by placing too high demands on your electrical system all at one time.
If the power company causes a surge it cantrip the main breaker for every house on the street. A faulty branch breaker can cause the main breaker to trip as a secondary precaution.
If the main circuit breaker gets tripped you must reset it correctly to avoid a surge to your system. When power is restored, any branch breaker that is “on” will engage the circuits driving motor.
When your main breaker trips, start by turning each individual branch breaker to the “off” position. Each time you flip a branch breaker back to the “on” position, power should return to the areas in your home controlled by that circuit.
If you experience frequent main circuit breaker trips call a professional electrician for help. Whether you are installing track lighting or putting in extra wall outlets, the main circuit breaker protects you from electrocution.
If you find yourself resetting the breaker regularly it might be time to upgrade your electrical panel. The main breaker provides the kill-switch safety measure to ensure that a branch breaker fault doesn’t overload the system.
Take a look at your breaker box at home, and you see how physical the electricity is which flows inside your walls. Even though it is rare, breaker boxes produce flashes and sparks, so always use the right safety precautions when you are working with electrics.
Rubber is non-electrically conductive and mitigates the flow of electricity through your body in the event of an accident. If you like this article on understanding your main circuit breaker share it on social media.
This large circuit breaker is known as the main breaker, and it plays a crucial role in the electrical system by offering the means of disconnecting power to the entire circuit breaker panel and hence shutting off power to the entire house. For this reason, it will be by far the largest breaker in the box in terms of amperage rating.
The main breaker shuts off power to the entire house if the overall load demand grows too high or if there is another serious problem in the electrical system. The main breaker also provides the means of shutting off power to the entire house if you need to do some major work on the system.
In this case, there is a recommended procedure to follow if you are shutting off power to the entire house: Lightning strikes, power surges from the utility company, or an overload to the electrical panel can all cause the main breaker to trip.
This is done to ensure that circuits driving motors do not all activate at the same time when you reset the main breaker. It's much safer to turn on individual circuits one at a time after resetting the main breaker.
When resetting any breaker, stand-off to the side of the panel when flipping the lever. It's advisable to wear safety glasses and turn your head while resetting any breaker.
Turn on each individual circuit one at a time by resetting its lever to the ON position. The idea here is to avoid dumping the entire power load on the main breaker all at once.
Usually, the main breaker trips due to a temporary issue and resetting it will solve the problem. The breaker's job is to either allow or stop power reaching the circuit.
If there is a short or a power surge somewhere along the circuit, the corresponding breaker automatically switches off to help prevent electrical shock. However, the breaker also can be automatically turned off (tripped) by hand if the connected circuit needs to be worked on.
Plug a portable appliance into one of the outlets in the circuit that the breaker is serving. If working for some time on the electrical circuit, close the breaker box's front cover.
He has written articles for various websites, using more than a decade of DIY experience to cover mostly construction-related topics. Sloane holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and film theory from the University of California, Riverside.
Acting as a safety net, a circuit breaker protects the home from an electrical overload, which could cause damage to appliances and ultimately result in a fire. A circuit breaker is designed to break circuits so that electrical shorts, faults or excessive power draw on a system doesn't cause fires or put homeowners at risk.
In either condition, it actually takes heat to trip the circuit breaker. Berry: “Newer breakers will trip for two reasons, overload and short.
Older breakers that are 15-20 years old can get weak and trip during normal usage and can be easily checked with an amperage meter to verify.” A lot of times we’ll get a call from a customer who will be vacuuming around the house and that will trip the breaker.
There could also be a short circuit where the hot wire becomes grounded and causes the breaker to trip.” Berry: “Appliances that are old or damaged can pull more power than usual and even cause a short within its own circuitry.
There’s usually some other contributing factor that’s causing the breaker to act strangely.” Do your due diligence when hiring an electrician by asking the contractor the right questions.