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What Is Circuit Breaker?

Circuit breaker is an electrical device used in an electrical panel that monitors and controls the amount of amperes (amps) being sent through the electrical wiring. Circuit breaker comes in a variety of sizes. For instance, 10, 15 and 20 amp breakers are used for most power and lighting needs in our typical houses. Some appliances and specialty items (washers, dryers, freezers, whirlpools, etc.) will require a larger circuit breaker to handle the electrical load required to run.

If a power surge occurs in the electrical wiring, the breaker will trip. Essentially, a circuit breaker is a safety device. When a circuit breaker is tripped, it may prevent a fire from starting on an overloaded circuit; it can also prevent the destruction of the device that is drawing the electricity.

While a number of older houses and buildings are still using fuses to monitor the electrical load, almost each new built house has circuit breakers in the electrical panel. Fuses perform similar duty as circuit breakers. However, circuit breakers are safer to use than fuses and easier to fix. When the power for an area shuts down, the house owner can look in the electrical panel and see which breaker has tripped to the "off" position. The breaker can then be flipped to the "on" position and power will resume again. Common circuit breaker includes miniature circuit breaker (MCB), residual current circuit breaker (RCCB), leakage circuit breaker (LCB), moulded case circuit breaker (MCCB), etc.

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