How Circuit Breakers Work — And What Happens When They Don’t  

Peek inside the box—learn the drama of circuit breakers in action.

In order to live and work in the modern world, we need household electricity. Without it, we’re left in the dark! Circuit breakers are an essential device of any electrical system, especially in your home.

Electricity works to power your home via a combination of electrical wiring, breaker switches, and important safety features. These keep the flow of electricity from overwhelming your home electrical components while it delivers electricity to energize your appliances and electronic gadgets.

How does a circuit breaker work?

When electricity enters your home, it will enter through a circuit breaker box, otherwise known as a fuse box. This box is divided into many different circuits, which are each protected by a breaker, or fuse.

Fuse sizes are different from place to place in your home. For example, bedrooms and living rooms are generally on only 15-amp circuits; other locations where you are likely to use more electricity, such as kitchens or laundry rooms, have larger fuses to provide electricity for these heavy-duty appliances.

The circuit breaker, wires, and wire insulations all work as one unit, but when the system gets overloaded, it can switch off and you can lose power. If there is more current than the circuit can handle, then it will “trip” and stop the flow of power before damage to the wires can occur.

If the circuit breaker isn’t working, the wires can heat up and melt, causing damage and a potentially hazardous situation.

Electrical Surges

Detection in faulty electricity is the circuit breaker’s key function. This will prevent surges of electricity that travel to appliances or other outlets in your home. This can cause breakdowns to happen.

Today’s technology allows circuit breakers to be engineered with great attention to detail. It’s an elegant and simple solution. When your breaker trips and the power turns off, it might be irritating, especially if you’re in the middle of something important. But remember: This is for your safety. It is saving you from a potentially dangerous situation that could cause a fire or other damage.

If you have an older home or an out-of-date circuit breaker that seems to trip regularly, you may have an issue that needs to be examined. Don’t ignore anything like this. Our experienced team at Prairie Electric can check it out to see if a repair or replacement is needed. Contact us today!

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