A circuit breaker is a central component of modern electrical systems. This important safety device puts a limit on the amount of power moving through your home’s circuits to prevent overloads that could cause damage to your electrical system or even start a fire. Knowing what your circuit breaker does and where to find it are two basic pieces of information every homeowner should have. If you have questions about your home’s electrical system, can’t find your circuit breaker, or need any type of electrical repair or upgrade in Fairfax or Montgomery County, contact your residential electrician for the help you need.
What Is a Circuit Breaker?
At its most basic, a circuit breaker is a box that contains several rows of switches. These switches are safety devices designed to trip when too much power tries to travel through the circuit, causing it to heat up. Inside each switch, either an electromagnet or a bimetallic strip serves to complete the circuit between the two terminals at either end of the switch. When an electrical wire is connected to the switch via the terminals, electricity flows through the magnet or the strip to complete the circuit. However, when too much electricity is present, the switch trips and breaks the circuit. The switch can be manually reset at any time by flipping it back to its original position, thus restoring the circuit and allowing power to flow once more. However, if excess current occurs again, the switch will continue to trip, no matter how many times you reset it. A continually-tripping circuit breaker is a sign that there is an electrical problem in your home that is consistently causing too much power to flow through a circuit. Your residential electrician can help you identify the problem and solve it for improved electrical safety and increased convenience during daily electrical use.
Where Is the Circuit Breaker?
While every home is different, there are a few common locations where you are likely to find your circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are generally located in low-traffic areas of the home, such as a basement, garage, or utility closet. If you live in an apartment, your circuit breaker may be in a more central location, such as a hallway or laundry area. Most modern circuit breakers are located inside the home, but it’s important to note that your circuit breaker could be located on your home’s exterior as well. Your circuit breaker should appear as a metal box; you may only see the door if the box is recessed into your wall. The box and door may be a matte gray color, or they may be painted over to match the color of the surrounding area. If you can’t find your circuit breaker, call your residential electrician for assistance.
If you need help with your circuit breaker or any other part of your home’s electrical system in Fairfax County or Montgomery County, you can reach a qualified electrician for help when you click through our comprehensive website. We also invite you to check out our blog for more information about your home’s electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems.