Sample Chapter – Home Electric Systems – Circuit Breakers

Sample Chapter

Home Electric Systems

Circuit Breakers


Below the main circuit breaker in the panel you will find the branch circuit breakers. Each circuit breaker controls one circuit in the home. The electrician that installed the electrical system will have placed labels by each breaker identifying the circuit, or appliance, that the breaker controls. The dryer, water heater, water pump and heating system usually have their own circuit. Other circuits may be labeled “Kitchen,” Living Room,” “Bathroom,” etc. The breaker acts like an electrical switch. Turning it “off,” will shut off all the power in that circuit. The circuit breaker is designed to detect power overloads, short circuits and other electrical malfunctions in the home. The most common reason for a circuit breaker to trip to the off position is an overload. If you are using a vacuum cleaner or some other appliance on a circuit and the circuit breaker trips, you have probably overloaded the circuit. Move the appliances plug to another circuit, go to the circuit panel, note the one in the “Off,” position. Simply flip it to the “On,” position. If it continues to trip, you may have an electrical problem. Leave it turned off and call an electrician. Circuit breakers are available in different amp classifications. The higher the number, the more amps it will handle before tripping. You can turn off the power to any circuit in the home by flipping the appropriate circuit breaker to the “Off,” position. To turn back on, simply flip the breaker back to ,”On.”
Some circuit breaker sizes you may see on your panel include:
15 amp breakers
20 amp breakers
40 amp breakers
50 amp breakers
60 amp breakers
100 amp breakers
200 amp breakers
15 and 20 amp breakers are the most common. Most homes will not have circuit breakers rated at higher than 40 amp, unless it is the main circuit breaker, which commonly is 200 amp.