The tough, grey boxes that reside on every property type, whether private or commercial, carry with them a bit of elusivity. Circuit breakers can be intimidating with all of that power running through it, all the switches and wires. But, at second glance, that is all a circuit break truly is. It's a box stacked with all of the on and off switches powering your building. So, why are so many of us overwhelmed at the very sight of them? Simple. It's because we don't understand them. We're about to change that for you – here's everything you ever needed to know about a circuit breaker.
What makes up a circuit breaker?
A standard circuit breaker is made up of 2 components with a large variety within the 2 categories:
- Main breaker – the on/off switch for the entire panel of breakers
- Double-pole breaker – ranging from 15 amp to 70 amp, these generally connect to water heaters, dishwasher, ranges and air conditioners
- Single-pole breaker – normally these will operate lights and outlets
- AFI breaker – this keeps the place from burning down due to unintentional electric discharge
- Neutral and hot wires: power flows into the box from a power plant through the hot wire and into the ground via the neutral wire. When the circuit is closed, the charge moves.
- Wire gauges – these carry electricity to the components they're powering
- Ground wires – for safety reasons, electricity needs to be grounded so major appliances which routinely have metal siding won't be susceptible to electricity conduction. Basically, these prevent you from being electrocuted every time you do a load of laundry.
The energy current explained
The energy running through the wires of your building is measured in watts. A Watt is the measurement of the rate at which electromagnetic energy is dissipated and is measured in joules per second. The rate at which the energy is moving is directly related to the amount of resistance it meets which is why it's important to have your building wired properly and in consideration of the components you're trying to power. Too little energy and nothing happens…too much and you could have a problem on your hands.
Of course, although we've demystified the circuit breaker for you, very special care should be taken when working with one. If you're still not comfortable around all of the components and would prefer a professional handle the job, it is absolutely a good decision to seek expert assistance. The amount of power flowing in and out of the box can be dangerous. If you think there's an issue that can't be fixed with the literal flip of a switch, contact us today.