How Do Circuit Breakers Work?

By: Aaron's Electrical Service | Published 04/06/2019

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Even though everybody knows how dependent they are on their home’s electricity (without it, there’s no air conditioning, no central heating, no hot water, no TV, etc.), yet few people know how their electricity works. In fact, odds are most people take it for granted, which means they don’t realize how dangerous the use of electricity would be if it weren’t for circuit breakers. So what exactly is a circuit breaker and how does it work?

What is a Circuit Breaker?

Your home’s circuit breaker is basically the main distribution point for the electrical circuits inside of your home. Power is sent to your home via electrical lines by your power company. The power flows through the electrical meter, which records how much electricity you are using and then into the circuit breaker panel.

The circuit breaker consists of a number of different parts. Near the top of the circuit breaker are two lugs. The lugs are terminals that connect to the service entrance wires.  All of the wiring in the circuit breaker, as well as the lugs, are covered by the dead front cover, which is what you see when you open the circuit breaker panel door.

When you open the door, you’ll see two rows of breakers. These breakers control the flow of electricity to different zones in your house. The breakers usually control two sizes, the 15- and 2- amp circuits (which supply regular lighting and outlet circuits as well as supply outlets throughout the home) and larger breakers that control the 30-,40-, and 50-amp circuits that supply appliances like dryers and electric stoves. 

Either above or below these rows is the main breaker, which controls the power to all of the other breakers. When you switch the main breaker off, you’ll turn off all of the circuits in your home at once. 

What Do Circuit Breakers Do?

The circuit breaker is basically a safety device that helps to prevent short circuits and overloads, which can result in electrical fires. It works automatically, although it can be operated manually. If the circuit breaker detects a fault, it will interrupt the flow of the electrical current from the utility lines to your home’s circuits.

This means that if too many appliances and devices are plugged into a particular circuit, the breaker for that particular circuit will trip, shutting down the power to that area without affecting the rest of the house. When your breaker trips, you’ll be able to manually reset it by flipping the breaker switch on the circuit breaker. Basically, it’s an incredibly important safety feature that allows you to use electricity throughout your home in a safe manner.

Scheduling Houston Circuit Breaker Services

The circuit breaker is essential to the safe use of electricity throughout your home. If you are having problems with your circuit breaker or with any of your home’s outlets, then be sure to contact us at Aaron’s Electrical Services to schedule an appointment online or call us at (832) 791-2935 request a free estimate today!

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