The complex web of wires and cables running behind the walls and ceilings of your home is more than just a power provider, it is the lifeblood of your home functionality. Central to this network are switches, circuit breakers, and fuses. Though they might seem basic, understanding these components is essential to the safe operation of your home’s electrical system. Burley Electrical Services would like to share some of the key parts of a home’s electrical system, to better help homeowners understand how to maintain this complex system.
What are the Types of Electrical Switches?
Switches, what are they? To put it simply, switches are the devices that open or close electrical circuits, allowing or stopping the flow of electrical current. Here are some of the different types of switches used in many homes.
• Single-pole switches: The most common type which controls one device from a single location.
• Three-way switches: Allows control of a single device from two different locations.
• Dimmer switches: This switch lets you adjust light intensity.
• Smart switches: Can be operated remotely using smartphones or voice commands.
Home Safety System Circuit Breakers
What are circuit breakers? Circuit breakers are the safety devices that shut off electrical flow when they detect an overload or short circuit, which in turn prevents potential fires. How do circuit breakers work? They monitor the currents that are passing through them. When the current exceeds a certain level, the breaker “trips” or breaks the circuit. In a home you may see a few different types of breakers being used, such as:
• Single-pole breakers: Protects one energized wire and supplies 120V to a circuit.
• Double-pole breakers: Protects two energized wires and supplies 240V. This is often used for larger appliances such as ovens and clothes dryers.
• GFCI breakers: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters detect imbalances between an outgoing and incoming current, providing protection against electrical shock.
A Fuse; the Single Use Safety Device
What are fuses? Fuses are older safety devices, similar in function to circuit breakers. They protect against overloads and short circuits by “blowing” or “burning out” when the current exceeds safe levels. How do fuses work to protect your home? Fuses contain a metal wire or filament that melts and breaks the circuit when too much current flows through. Fuses are not commonly used today and are usually found in older homes. Some of the types of fuses that are still being used today are:
• Plug fuses: Screw-in type fuses commonly found in older homes.
• Cartridge fuses: Cylindrical fuses used in appliances and HVAC systems.
• Time-delay fuses: Designed to handle a brief surge in power without blowing immediately.
Electrical Wiring Inspections & More in Pompano Beach, Imperial Point, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Davie, Lighthouse Point, Parkland & Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Switches, circuit breakers, and fuses might be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind. They play a major role in the smooth and safe functioning of our homes. Understanding their basics not only help homeowners better understand what is hidden behind our walls, but also helps you make the right decisions and take the needed action during electrical issues. If you have an electrical problem, contact Burley Electrical Services today.