When it comes to accidents and injuries that are caused by electricity, circuit breakers are the best way to prevent them from happening. A circuit breaker will interrupt the flow of electricity when the building undergoes an electric overload. This limits the amount of electricity that is allowed to flow through the wiring system. The building’s wires and the appliances dependent on electricity are protected until you allow the electricity to flow again.
In order for the circuit breaker to work properly in your system, you need to do some homework and select the right circuit breaker. Here are the most important factors that you need to look at when choosing a circuit breaker:
Buildings of different sizes will require different levels of electricity to keep them powered over time without risking safety. A smaller building might have a current limit that may not be practical for a larger building. You will need to select a circuit breaker that has a high enough voltage capacity to handle the operational demands of the building. This requires that you know your building’s electrical parameters (voltage quantity and type, load current, trip).
The cable that is connected to the circuit breaker will have a measurement that tells you what the wire gauge is. Based on that information, you need to choose the correct breaker. There are many charts that will tell you this information, but, as an example, an 8-gauge wire would be paired up with a 40-amp circuit breaker.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Depending on where the circuit breaker is going to be placed, extra measures may need to be taken. If the circuit breaker is an area where mechanical shock is likely to take place, an anti-shock device needs to be installed. Areas with high moisture mean that the circuit breaker will need to receive constant moisture treatment to avoid corrosion or accumulation of mold. Other factors, including ambient temperature and altitude, need to be taken into account.
Depending on the circuit breaker that you buy, some might need to be maintained more frequently than others. Calibration, cleaning the breakers, and re-tightening the connections are just an example of the things that need to be done. You will have to determine what level of maintenance you are okay with performing for your circuit breaker.
Some breaker panels are interchangeable with different brands of circuit breakers. However, some are only compatible with a specific brand, and you must factor that in. Interchanging brands can be a dangerous thing to do, and you may potentially fail an electrical inspection.
Believe it or not, every industry has their own requirements for the safety and testing of circuit breakers. What qualifies as safe for the aviation industry may not work for the medical industry. You are responsible for looking at your industry’s rules and regulations in advance before you purchase a circuit breaker for your system. This also includes electrical testing and mandatory certifications. Be mindful of the fact that these rules can even change between countries.
A circuit breaker is an incredibly useful tool but it cannot do everything for you. You need to properly install them and consult a qualified electrician should you have any questions. They can only work when they are properly installed.
You should also be proactive and purchase your circuit breakers from marketplace leaders that offer the best products you can get your hands on. A circuit breaker is a valuable safety investment that should not be taken lightly.