Choosing The Right Circuit Breaker

Having access to a steady stream of electricity is important for most homeowners. In order to protect your delicate electrical appliances from sustaining damage as a result of an electrical surge, you need to have circuit breakers in place. These circuit breakers are designed to interrupt the flow of electricity when they sense a surge or short. Installing the right kind of circuit breaker is critical when it comes to protecting your home.

Here are three types of circuit breakers that you should be thinking about as you upgrade your home's electrical system in the future.

1. Standard Circuit Breakers

Standard circuit breakers provide basic protection for the electrical appliances within your home. These circuit breakers are designed to protect the energized wires that are connected to your circuit breaker panel.

A single pole standard circuit breaker will provide sufficient protection for smaller electrical devices, but you will need to install a double pole standard circuit breaker to adequately protect your larger appliances (like a fridge, oven, or dishwasher) from electrical damage in the future.

2. GFCI Circuit Breakers

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit breakers play a critical role in detecting not only surges and shorts within your electrical circuits, but also the presence of a line-to-ground fault. These line-to-ground faults occur when an unwanted path between the electrical current and a grounded element (like your electrical device) presents itself.

This unwanted path is often water, so GFCI circuit breakers should be installed in kitchens and bathrooms where the presence of water will is to be expected. As soon as an unwanted path is detected, the GFCI circuit breaker will switch to the "off" position. This can happen without your knowledge, so a GFCI circuit breaker may not be the best option for circuits powering appliances that need to run continually.

3. AFCI Circuit Breakers

If you have an older home and you aren't ready to completely replace the electrical wiring, then the installation of AFCI circuit breakers can be beneficial. Older wiring can result in electrical jumps that could lead to a fire.

Since standard circuit breakers are only designed to respond to sustained arcs of electricity, they will not protect your electrical system from sudden arcs of electricity. An AFCI circuit breaker is designed specifically to detect these surges, and cut the electrical access before the arc can build enough heat to start a fire.

Being able to identify the unique properties of some popular circuit breakers will allow you to select the circuit breaker that is best suited to meet the needs of your electrical system in the future. For more information, talk to a professional like