Circuit Breaker Box: All You Need to Know About It

Circuit Breaker Box: All You Need to Know About It
  • Opening Intro -

    The very first point of the residential electrical wiring system is the utility power lines.

    The equipment that provides power to your home along with the utility power lines are collectively known as the service entrance.


The power runs through an electric meter and the main service panel. The main service panel is also known as the circuit breaker box or breaker box.

It distributes the power to all the circuits throughout the house. Each circuit has a breaker that can shut off itself if there is a short circuit or overload in the circuit. In this article, we will learn more about the breaker box.

What is a Circuit Breaker and Breaker Box?

A circuit breaker is a switching device which interrupts the abnormal flow of current in a circuit. It is designed to open or close an electrical circuit, thus protecting the electrical system from damage.

A circuit breaker box is the main distribution point for all the electrical circuits in the house. It generally provides between 100–200 amperes of power, depending on the rating of the panel.

How to Locate the Main Breaker Panel?

The main breaker panel is located near the place where the electrical power supply is entering the house. It usually has a gray metal breaker box cover.

The main panel is made of several breakers that act as a safety switch which controls the flow of electricity throughout the house. If the breaker receives more power than it was designed to handle, it will shut off the flow of electricity.

When the breaker shuts off the electricity flow, that state is known as a ‘tripped’ or ‘blown’ breaker. It has a red or orange indicator. 
Labeling the breakers properly is crucial as you will know which breaker corresponds to which circuit in the house.

Main Breaker & Branch Circuit Breakers

The main breaker is designed to handle a large amperage load of the main feeder wires that bring electrical power to the house.

The branch circuit breakers are designed to shut off the power to individual circuits. This happens when they overload by trying to draw more power than the circuit can safely handle.

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Resetting a Main Circuit Breaker AfterIt Trips

A circuit breaker can trip for many reasons, some of which include power surges or an overload. If an individual circuit breaker fails to trip as designed, then the main breaker trips to provide the secondary safety shutoff.

Here is the recommended procedure to reset the main breaker.

  • Turn off all the individual circuit breakers that control branch circuits.

    This will make sure that the circuits driving motors do not activate at the same time when you reset the main breaker. It is safer to turn on the individual circuits one at a time after you reset the main breaker.

  • Reset the lever on the main breaker to the ON position.

    Make sure you stand to the side of the circuit breaker panels when flipping the lever. By doing this you will be protecting yourself from possible sparks or electrical flashes. Even though the chances of that happening are remote, there have been episodes where they have occurred.

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  • Turn on each individual circuit one at a time by resetting the lever to ON position.

    This is done to avoid dumping the entire power load on the main breaker all at once.

In most cases, the main breaker trips due to a temporary issue which you can resolve by resetting it. However, if it trips repeatedly, it would be a good idea to call a professional. Some of the problems that lead to repeated breaker tripping include ashort circuit in the main panel and a failed main circuit.

Concluding Words

You must do timely maintenance of the circuit breaker. Replace your electrical wiring and components if they are not in good condition. If the circuit breaker and its components are functioning properly, you can be assured of safety from electrical Hazards.

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Author Bio:
Jeson Pitt works with the marketing department of D & F Liquidators in Hayward, CA and regularly writes to share his knowledge while enlightening people about electrical products and solving their electrical dilemmas. He’s got the industry insights that you can count on along with years of experience in the field. Jeson lives in Hayward, CA and loves to explore different cuisines that the food trucks in the Bay area have to offer.

Image credit: circuit breaker box by Pixabay

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