A circuit breaker panel

How Circuit Breakers Work

How Circuit Breakers Work

Your electrical panel is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your entire home. It regulates the electrical current that flows through the house and keeps you safe from electrical failures.

The panel is made up of circuit breakers, which are individual switches that will “trip” at the sign of an overload in current. We’re breaking down how these switches work and why they’re so important for your home’s electrical system.

Safety Features

Circuit breakers are meant to keep your home protected from an electrical fire. When too much current flows through a circuit, it can damage the wire and even melt the insulation. When a wire is exposed, it can cause a fire. So your breaker is designed to stop the overload from damaging the wire and protect your equipment and your home.

A fuse actually performs similarly by cutting off an electrical current when it overloads a circuit. But fuses will “blow” and need to be replaced. A circuit breaker can be reused – just flip the switch back to the “on” position when it trips.

Tripped Breakers

Circuit breakers are designed to “trip” when the current is more than the breaker can handle. For example, most of your breakers are rated at 15 amps, so if more than that flows through, it could overheat and damage the wire. A breaker prevents this by cutting off the connection when it detects that overload.

You can manually turn off a breaker, which is usually necessary when working on an electrical repair or major renovation. But the breaker switch will flip automatically when the circuit is overloaded. If you keep noticing breakers flipping frequently, it may indicate an issue with your panel or that your appliance needs a larger-capacity circuit.

There When You Need Us

The Sylvester Electric, Inc. team is here to help with any of your home electrical issues. Contact us today at (978) 910-0021 for more information and to set up an appointment.