What Is the Function of a Circuit Breaker?

Access to electricity has become an entirely necessary and pivotal part of keeping up and operating within any modern commercial or industrial business, or even just performing day to day tasks in a home. Despite this point, however, electricity is inherently quite volatile, and so it must be precisely containedand planned for, and potential risks have to be mitigated.

Many devices have been created to perform the function of electrical safety, the most popular and common of which is a circuit breaker. Unfamiliar with the use and operation of these electrical safety mainstays? PSI Control Solutions can help you understand the how and why!

What a Circuit Breaker Does

In its simplest form, a circuit breaker is an automatic circuit protection system. Breakers are installed in an electrical panel (breaker box) and each circuit is attached to a singular breaker. The breaker will monitor the circuit and in the event of a complication such as an overload, the breaker will immediately shut off that circuit. This is often colloquially called a “breaker trip” or “tripping a breaker” and it commonly happens when appliances or equipment acts up or too many high-power draw tools are placed (plugged into) a single circuit.

Think about a home outlet with a space heater, a television, and a vacuum all plugged into it. This would almost certainly cause a breaker trip, which will shut off access and operation of that circuit until the problem is fixed and the breaker is reset and placed back into position.

How a Breaker Differs from a Fuse

Fuses and breakers serve the same purpose overall, though breakers in many cases have overtaken fuses in use (these is not always the case, of course, as fuses still see niche use in many appliances and commercial applications, but it does represent the majority of situations). The primary difference between a fuse and a breaker is that a breaker can be reused until it wears out, which tends to take quite a bit of time. A fuse, on the other hand, can only be used once. Fuses are a glass cylinder that contains a thin filament, and when tripped, the filament will burn off, melt, or otherwise become useless, and in some cases the glass cylinder may even crack.

How a Breaker Differs from a Disconnect

Breakers and disconnects are still quite similar but are used to address different potential electrical problems within a commercial facility. They can in many situations work interchangeably, but disconnects are the best option for many commercial equipment applications. In some cases disconnects are also fitted with a fuse (fusible disconnects) to provide further protection, though these also require the fuse be changed out in the event of an electrical issue.

How Do I Know Which to Use?

For most general purposes, circuit breakers are the ideal choice. However, there are many applications, tools, and situations that demand either a different power supply monitoring system, or a combination of these in order to ensure protection. This is why it is vital to always consult your manuals for all new electrical equipment, and it is wise to work with certified electricians when planning emergency power response systems.

Electrical Safety and Supply with PSI Control Solutions

If you are seeking electrical safety equipment for your business, you can trust that PSI Control Solutions has you covered. We provide custom and prefabricated power control solutions, so no matter the application or equipment you have, we’ve got the ideal components and products to match. Feel free to call 704-594-4107 to speak to our service team today!