Without adequate knowledge of the main circuit breaker, you may find it difficult to perform electrical repairs in your house. The distribution of electric current to every part of the house is done from the main circuit breaker. It is the link between the utility company and your house.
The role of the utility company is to make sure electricity reaches your house. They do this through a service drop electrical line. There is always power in the service drop. If power does not get to your house, it could be because your circuit breaker has halted the passage of power.
In this article, we will be explaining everything about the main circuit breaker in your house. We will also be opening your eye to the major dichotomy between a main breaker and a branch breaker. We are only educating you. If there is a technical difficulty, reach out to an electrician.
What every beginner should know about a circuit breaker
The main circuit breaker in any house is usually located in the electric service panel box. In some old residential structures, the service panel is usually mounted to the wall. It is very similar to a metal cabinet and opening it for the first time is usually a big deal. The inner compartment of the main circuit breaker houses so many circuit breaker switches arranged in rows.
In some cases, these switches are numbered and labeled. These numbered or labeled breakers are called the branch circuit breakers. Every branch breaker is responsible for a particular portion of the house whether it is the living room, or kitchen.
A little bit above the branch circuit breaker is a large switch. The size of this switch is usually larger when compared to the branch switches. This large switch is the main circuit breaker and it is responsible for controlling the amount of electrical energy that the branch breaker receives.
When the main circuit breaker is switched off, the flow of power to the circuit breaker panel will seize.
What is a circuit breaker?
The circuit breaker is a defense system created for all circuits and appliances in a household. Anytime there is excess current or overload, the circuit breaker prevents it from getting into any of the circuits. The circuit breaker is a switch whose source is the circuit board. It only acts if it senses an abnormal flow of current.
Before the advent of a circuit breaker, fuses were used to protect appliances. However, circuit breakers are well configured to prevent a short circuit from wrecking havoc to the gadgets and appliances in a home.
The problem with a fuse is that it had to be replaced frequently as a result of a blown filament. The circuit breaker is quite different in the way it operates. When a power surge occurs, you only need to reset the breaker and its operation will be fully restored. There are different types of circuit breakers. The low voltage circuit breaker is used in places of residence. On the other hand, the high voltage circuit breakers are used for industrial and commercial purposes. The third categories of circuit breakers are the medium voltage circuit breakers.
How does a circuit breaker work?
Although all circuit breakers perform the same function, there is a difference in their method of operation. The class of voltage and maximum permissible current are some of the other factors that affect the operating principle of a circuit breaker.
A breaker should be able to spot and arrest abnormal current conditions before damage is done to any of the household appliances.
The low-voltage circuit breakers are the most basic of all circuit breaker types. As earlier explained, they are used in places of residence. Although all circuit breakers do the job of preventing a short circuit or over-current from damaging things, the branch circuit breaker and the main circuit breaker are not the same.
How is a branch breaker different from a main breaker?
Although very similar, these two breaker types have some differences. Their functionality and operating principle is basically the same. However, the main breakers have a bigger size. The branch breaker can only handle smaller current values.
The main breaker connects to the two power lines that are responsible for conveying electricity into the house from the utility company. On the other hand, the branch circuit breakers are attached to the hot bus bars which are slightly below the main breaker. The flow of electric power to the hot bus bars is orchestrated by the main circuit breaker. When the main circuit breaker is shut off, there would be no power in the whole house.