Ranging from damaged outlets, frequent power outages to electrical fires are the dangers of not having the proper circuit breakers installed in your home. Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), which results in nearly 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. To help prevent this from happening to your home, electrical distribution systems account for a third of those structural fires, and circuit breakers. Today, we at Peterkin Electric would like to discuss the different types of circuit breakers.
What Circuits Need AFCI Breakers?
In modern homes, AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters and is now required. To protect against electrical arcs are from the AFCI breakers. Endangering your family and your property, electrical arcs can get so hot they are easily able to burn wood, insulation, and other materials. Through wires is normally how electricity travels. The electricity can jump, leaving the circuit, and traveling to surrounding environments is what makes arc faults so dangerous. AFCI circuit breakers will trip if arcing is detected in the electrical wiring, whereas single and double-pole circuit breakers are only tripped by excessive heat.
Single-Pole Circuit Breakers
In today’s breaker boxes, single-pole circuit breakers are the most common circuits found. Found in your home’s electrical panel, they are the narrowest of the circuit breaker switches. They do serve their basic purpose, however. Tripping the circuit in the event there is a short, surge or electrical overload, the name single-pole came about because these circuits are designed to monitor the current of a single wire. Single-pole circuit breakers typically are used with 120-volt circuits and are constructed to accommodate anywhere from 15-30 amps, constructed with one live wire and one neutral wire.
Double Pole Circuit Breakers
You’ll absolutely understand double-pole breakers if you understand the functionality of a single-pole circuit breaker. The flow of two wires, not just one is simultaneously monitored with double-pole circuit breakers. They are the two side-by-side switches that operate as one, you can easily spot double-pole circuits in your breaker box. If one or both wires is being overloaded or has shorted out, these types of breakers will trip. To supply power to more demanding appliances like washers and dryers, delivering 120/240 volts and accommodating between 15-200 amps, double-pole circuit breakers are constructed.
GFCI Circuit Breakers
GFCI circuit breakers are designed to protect against a line-to-ground fault, short for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In ‘wet rooms’ like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, pool decks, and back porches is where the GFCI circuit breakers and GFCI outlets are most commonly installed. They help prevent electrical shorts or overloaded currents. in any part of the home that has running water or that is exposed to the elements, this includes HVAC units as well, the revised NEC guidelines now require that GFCI protection be installed as of 2020.
How to Know if a Breaker Needs to Be Replaced
To protect your home from electrical fires and better accommodate your electrical needs, watch for signs that you need to change the circuit breaker. Common signs the circuit breaker needs changing includes flickering lights, burning smells, insufficiently operating appliances, and/or singed or discolored outlets.
Electrical Wiring & More in Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Lake Forest & Orange County, California
If you aren’t sure if your circuit breakers are functioning well or if they need to be replaced, Peterkin Electric can perform an electrical inspection and present custom recommendations to keep your loved ones safe. Call us for all your electrical needs.