Power surges are electrical dangers you should be aware of. They occur when the electrical power flowing through wires and into devices is significantly higher than usual. The sudden spike in voltage may be due to faulty wiring, electrical overload, or lightning strikes.
To prevent electric surges, you must install circuit breakers in your home. Surge protection is essential to eliminate the risk of electrical fire and damage to your electrical devices and appliances.
If your circuit breaker is old, it may not be effective in protecting your electrical system from surges. In such instances, you can enlist the services of an electrician near me for an upgrade to enhance electrical safety in the home.
However, when upgrading to a new electrical breaker, finding the right one for your home might be a challenge, especially if you’ve no clue about what to check. This blog sheds some light on what to consider when buying a circuit breaker to help you choose the ideal safety device for your home. Read on to discover more.
Check the Breaker’s Continuous Current Rating
The continuous current rating of a breaker refers to the average voltage levels in a circuit without considering the effects of tolerances. These are the nominal conditions of the circuit.
A general rule of thumb is when shopping for a circuit breaker, look for one whose current rating uses 80 percent utilization. For instance, if the expected maximum amperage of a circuit breaker is 100A, then its rating should be at least 125A, allowing for a 25 percent margin.
It’s advisable to keep this margin not so close to the typical current to avoid false tripping. Understanding this will save you the hassle of purchasing a circuit breaker that protects against high voltage. If you need help determining this setting, you can inquire from an expert electrician near me in the city.
Check the Voltage Rating
The primary function of a circuit breaker is to guard against current-related irregularities. Even so, considering its voltage rating is also vital since the rating is linked to safety – safe circuit breaker tripping in case there’s an electrical overload.
Thus, it’s paramount that you check the voltage rating of American Circuit Breakers before you can purchase the unit. Usually, circuit breakers come in three voltage capacities – high, medium, and low to handle different amounts of electricity.
When looking to get a new circuit breaker, you should choose one with the same open-circuit voltage or higher than that. This is extremely important because low-voltage breakers are highly susceptible to explosions or electrical arcing. An electrician near me in Southlake, TX can help you calculate the breaker’s overall voltage rating.
Check the Frequency
Another thing to look for when selecting a circuit breaker is its frequency. Ideally, the best circuit breaker should have a capacity of up to 600A and a frequency of 50 to 120 Hertz (Hz).
Frequencies exceeding 120 Hz will cause the high-voltage circuit breaker to cut the power. This is because the eddy currents and iron losses cause increased heating inside the thermal trip components than during higher-frequency installations.
Because of that, the circuit breaker will have to reduce its power rating. Simply put, it will need to be recalibrated. An electrician near me will factor in the ampere rating, currency frequency, and frame size when calculating the overall period.
Generally, the higher the ampere rating within a given frame size, the more significant the reduction in power rating required.
Higher-rated circuit breakers with more than 600 amps have a transformer-heated bimetal and are ideal for 60 Hz AC maximum. This implies that your hired electrician near me will have to conduct unique calibrations for 50 Hz AC minimum applications.
Consider the Unit’s Atypical Operating Conditions
Different circuit breakers have different operating conditions. While some are better suited for rough conditions, others are not. That’s why you should consider your location in your search for a circuit breaker. A few variables you might have to factor in include:
- Resting position
A certified electrician near me in Southlake, TX can install the circuit breaker horizontally or vertically without disrupting capacity or triggering mechanisms.
A circuit breaker should not be positioned inside a fixed surface or exposed to heavy winds because this may affect its functioning. You must hire an experienced and qualified electrician near me to install this safety tool properly.
- Moisture and corrosion
Your electrical breaker is subject to rust if you live in a high-humidity area. Thus, you may consider getting a circuit breaker designed to withstand high moisture content. If that’s not so, your electrician near me will have to install the circuit breaker in a zone where the potential risk of corrosion is low.
- The Physical Attributes
Besides looking at the electrical aspects of a circuit breaker, you need to consider its physical specifications, including the frame type and mounting options.
Don’t Forget to Look at the Maximum Interrupting Capacity
The maximum interrupting capacity (MIC) is the current a circuit breaker can safely interrupt. MIC is a crucial rating to consider while buying a breaker, as it determines the current the device can handle before it calls for a replacement.
It’s good to note that a circuit breaker’s MIC can vary based on the load type carried by your circuits. Before you buy a new breaker, have a professional electrician near me in Southlake, TX conduct load calculations to help find an ideal MIC for your circuit breaker.
Buffalo Electric: The Electrical Service Experts to Consult
If you need clarifications on the above topic or have other concerns, kindly direct your inquiries to the general electricians at Buffalo Electric for help. We ensure we leave you satisfied each time you give us a service call. Our electricians also offer generator repair services. Call us or complete the online form for meaningful engagements.
See our previous blog post here.
Photo By n_defender at Shutterstock