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How Circuit Breakers Work?

It is a mere fact that a circuit breaker is a mandatory component of an electrical system of a house or any building. This device is known for its safety mechanism that prevents certain damages that might incur due to electrical faults. By the time when avalanche or surge current is passing through the wiring of a building which is unsustainable, the circuit breakers play its part and fix the problem. Without having any circuit breakers in buildings, the electricity inside will be impractical due to certain potential threats of fire and other hazards that would affect human beings and their belongings.

This article is comprising of the basic working of circuit breakers and other fuses within a building and its way of monitoring faults and tackling them. The circuit breaker can be considered as an ultimate solution for the deadly problems that may occur due to the faults of electricity.

Working of Household Circuit Breakers

For understanding the circuit breakers and method of how electricity works within houses and buildings, three different attributes must be defined i.e. resistance, voltage, and current.

Voltage: The voltage can be considered as the pressure which is making charges to move.

Current: Current can be considered the effect due to the movement of charge.

Resistance: Resistance can be defined as the opposition to the flow of current.

It is worth mentioning that resistance, current, and voltage are all interrelated and the change in one would have an impact on others. This is also mentioned by Ohm’s law which states that voltage is directly proportional to current at a constant resistance. This makes sense that at a constant resistance, if the voltage increases, current will also increase while if the voltage decrease then current also decreases.

The electricity is provided to houses and buildings from grids through distribution lines. The electric charges are moving through cables in houses. The wires are connected to various larger and smaller circuits. The cables are having two wires a live wire connected to the pole while the other is a neutral wire connected to the ground. There is a constant voltage from the distribution line of the grid i.e. 120V. The resistance is varying in every house and so as the load as well. The resistance is the main factor behind working of any appliance.

The resistance of appliances is limiting the amount of charge passing through the entire circuit. The appliances are designed so as to pass a restricted amount of current through it for safety purposes. Whenever a surge current is passing through the circuit at a particular time, the appliance is heated up and the building’s safety circuit breaker comes to rescue the situation by putting it to the OFF position. Similarly, the fan of a motor may get overheated and melt when the live and neutral wires are fused together.

It is to be noted that when alive and neutral wires are connected to ground directly, there is minimum resistance. This process of circuit breaking is keeping the system of electricity to run smoothly. Hence, it has been followed that job of a circuit breaker is to protect current jumps beyond safety levels.

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