We’ve all heard of safety switches, circuit breakers, and fuses, but do you know the difference between these three electrical devices? Don’t worry if you don’t know because we’re about to break it down for you.
Safety switches, also known as ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are designed to protect people from electric shock hazards by automatically disabling the power when a live-to-ground fault is detected. They are required by the National Electrical Code to be installed in areas where water or dampness could pose a potential danger. This is why you’ll often see them near sinks and in bathrooms, although their use is recommended in any room of your home or office where electricity is present. Safety switches also don’t require manual resetting, which is a big advantage.
Circuit breakers are essential components within an electrical circuit. They’re used to protect electrical devices from overloads and short circuits by interrupting the current flow when necessary. Basically, circuit breakers act like fuses, but rather than needing to be replaced after they trip, circuit breakers can be reset by simply flipping a switch. This makes them the preferred choice in many residential, commercial, and industrial settings. In addition, since circuit breakers come in a variety of sizes and amperage ratings, they can easily be matched to the needs of different circuits.
Fuses are electrical components that protect circuits from overloads or short circuits. They accomplish this by “blowing” when a certain level of current is passed through them, thus disallowing further electricity to pass. Although they’re still widely used in some settings, their main drawback is that after they blow, they must be replaced before the circuit can be restored. They’re not as common in modern homes and businesses as they once were because of the availability of technologically advanced circuit breakers.
So, there you have it: the difference between safety switches, circuit breakers, and fuses. Safety switches are important for protecting people from electric shock hazards, while circuit breakers and fuses protect circuits from overloads and short circuits. The good news is that with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to ensure that electricity is used safely and efficiently in your home or business.
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