How to Choose a New Circuit Breaker

Jumpstory Download20211125 090806

Is your circuit breaker system out of date?

A circuit breaker controls all the electricity in a residence or area. It monitors the electrical currents, watches for overloads, and directs electricity lines to specific areas that may need it more.

Without a circuit breaker, you’re left in the dark.

If you’re looking to buy a new one, read this guide on the different circuit breakers you can choose and how to pick the one you need.

Does the Circuit Breaker Have a Good Voltage Rating?

When finding a new circuit breaker, it’s essential to research the voltage. You calculate the voltage rating by the highest amount of voltage distributed to all end ports, the type of distribution implemented and the circuit breakers integration.

Circuit breakers can be chosen from three capacities, each accommodating different amounts of electricity.

  1. Low voltage circuit breakers have an electrical current of 1000 amps and are ideal for most single-family homes
  2. Medium voltage circuit breakers, with a usage max of 72,000 volts, are useful in apartment buildings and businesses
  3. High-voltage circuit breakers can surpass 72,000 volts and should only be used near high current areas like power lines

Choose your circuit breaker voltage according to the residence of interest and power usage.

Types of Circuit Breakers

Not all circuit breakers are created equally, so you must consider replacing a circuit breaker with one that will fit your needs. Within the low voltage rating alone, there are three types of circuit breakers to consider.

The standard circuit breaker type is the most common. They service traditional home outlets that are used by large appliances and everyday items.

The GFCI breaker is unique because it automatically cuts power in case of overload or water exposure from close water sources.

Then there’s the AFCI circuit breaker, which cuts off supply when abnormalities are detected to prevent electrical fires. A feature now required in all new construction homes.

You should also consider breakers that have more features and functionality. Particular brands like the Square D circuit breakers create multiple configurations of these types of breakers to customize to the needs of every type of user imaginable.

Circuit Breaker Size

The size of your circuit breaker all depends on the residence. To determine the size, you need information from the panel chart located with the old breaker. The chart will describe two measurements, the wire-gauge and the number of wires inside the cable.

Used this to find the correct size as listed:

  • An 8 gauge wire equals a 40-amp breaker
  • A 10 gauge wire equals a 30-amp breaker
  • A 12 gauge wire equals a 20-amp breaker
  • A 14 gauge wire equals a 15-amp breaker

With any electrical work, you must consult a certified electrician who can safely assess any sizing and voltage.

Make the Right Decision

The circuit breaker is the motherboard of your home and knowing the voltage capacity and size of your home is important when choosing the correct circuit breaker.

With thorough research, make the best-informed decision with the assistance of an electrician to consult on your purchase.

If you want to know more about home improvements, visit our home blogs.