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The Importance of a Circuit Breaker

Firstly, what is a circuit breaker? It is basically an electrical safety device intended to prevent damage being inflicted upon an electrical circuit as a result of overcurrent.

The term ‘overcurrent’ refers to when an electrical current of a certain size is inadvertently run through an electrical circuit that was not designed to accommodate it. In the event of a short circuit or overload, the circuit breaker will automatically disrupt the current’s flow. 

In this sense, a circuit breaker works much like a fuse. However, whereas a fuse always needs to be replaced after it trips, a circuit breaker can be used again and again — as a switch on the device can simply be flicked to reset it.

What Could Happen Without a Circuit Breaker?

It can be too easy to underestimate the practical use of a circuit breaker, given how this device quietly gets on with its job in the background.

However, a circuit breaker serves a crucial safety purpose — as, if there is nothing to prevent an electrical circuit from being overloaded for a sustained length of time, the consequences could include damaged components and overheating.

As leaving a circuit to get excessively hot would risk a fire breaking out, it is crucial that any property’s electrical system has a circuit breaker in place.

Are There Different Types of Circuit Breakers?

The quick answer is yes. An electrical box in the home typically includes a ‘main’ breaker along with branch circuit breakers collectively connected to an array of individual circuits. 

It would be useful for you, as an electrician, to know which of these breakers are connected to which branch circuits. That way, if one of the branch circuit breakers trips, it will be easier for you to trace the source of the problem and ascertain exactly what that problem is.

Electricians required to install a new circuit breaker in New Zealand should also heed the need to choose a DC circuit breaker for NZ electrical devices that run on direct current.

We at Scott Electrical are able to deliver a DC circuit breaker to any NZ-based electrician unable to visit any of our 17 branches in the upper North Island. Electricians nationwide can order circuit breakers over the phone on 0800 00 12 44