Circuit breakers can help protect a home or business from electrical calamity. When the electrical circuit becomes overloaded, a circuit breaker automatically breaks the electrical circuit. Most of the time you can reset the circuit breaker by flipping the switch back in place, unless you have a fuse panel with a blown fuse, which you need to replace. Manufacturers make circuit breakers including high-voltage breakers, heat infused breakers and electromagnetic breakers.
Magnetic Circuit Breaker
A circuit can break with electromagnetism in a magnetic circuit breaker. The more electricity flowing through a magnetic circuit breaker, the stronger the electromagnet gets. When the electricity surpasses the current limit on a magnetic circuit breaker, the electromagnet is strong enough to push the circuit breaker downward and flip the switch.
Thermal Circuit Breaker
A thermal circuit breaker breaks the circuit with heat. The breaker has a bimetal strip that consists of two pieces of metal that expand differently when heated. Therefore, one piece of metal gets bigger than the other piece of metal when the temperature increases. The metal strip reacts to intense electrical current heat. The contact plate turns and breaks the circuit when the electricity exceeds the current limit and bends the strip.
Electromagnetic/Heat Circuit Breaker
An electromagnetic/heat circuit breaker combines heat and electromagnetism. It features a bimetallic strip that defends against extended electrical overheating and an electromagnet that guards against abrupt electrical surges.
Oil Circuit Breaker
A high-voltage circuit breaker is an oil circuit breaker. The contacts sit in oil. Typically, large oil circuit breakers have one oil tank for each pole, while small oil circuit breakers share one oil tank for the poles. The oil in the circuit breaker creates an electric arc that stops the current flow when the electricity starts to overload. Additionally, oil cools the electric arc, preventing the circuit from overheating.