Circuit breakers are electrical devices which are used in electrical panels. They monitor and control the amount of electricity that goes through the electrical wiring and are important to make sure that the electrical system of a house or any kind of facility is functioning properly. This is why when there is a circuitry problem, it is vital to check if the circuit breakers are causing it and if they need to be replaced.
Although a lot of individuals today today automatically choose to buy new circuit breakers once they find out that the ones they have need to be replaced, more and more are realizing that buying used breakers might be the better option. This is because used breakers are actually just as good as new ones and are priced a lot cheaper. There are also plenty of places where you can buy them. Many online and offline stores have them and you would usually have a lot of options for the types of used breakers that you can purchase.
You need to remember that it is always advisable to have a licensed electrician, regardless of the level of knowledge you have in breakers and electrical systems, to determine which breakers you need for your home or office, but it would also be helpful to have some knowledge on the types of used breakers that you can buy. Here is a simple guide on the different types of used breakers that you can choose from.
The first type would be low voltage circuit breakers. This type of used breakers is the ones which most homeowners use. These breakers are small and can easily be replaced. They are typically installed inside breaker panels to allow easy access. The smallest type of low voltage circuit breakers would be the miniature circuit breakers or MCBs. MCBs can carry electrical currents below 100 amps and can stand a charge of up to 1000 amps. The low voltage breakers which are most commonly used would have been the molded case circuit breakers or MCCBs that can carry 1000 amps and has the ability to withstand currents up to 10000 amps. These used breakers are considered to be magnetic circuit breakers since they make use of a solenoid which is electromagnetically powered in order to break the circuit in the event that too much power is running through it.
There are also the medium voltage circuit breakers. These used breakers are able to withstand about 1000 to 72000 volts, depending on the model. These are often used by large buildings and facilities and are either installed on the roof in switchboxes that are enclosed or indoors inside cabinets. There are also several varieties of medium voltage circuit breakers and these would be: vacuum, SF6 and air circuit breakers. Vacuum circuit breakers work by maintaining a power arc inside a vacuum. This means that air is allowed back into the breaker once the breaker is tripped, which would then stop the arc. SF6 circuit breakers have a power arc which is generated in a chamber that has sulfur hexaflouride gas. This gas reacts with the presence of a higher-than-average voltage through increasing in density, which then stops the arc. As for the air circuit breakers, they have two spring-loaded contacts which are positioned close together within an air-filled environment. The spring-loaded contacts come apart once the breaker is tripped and this would separate the contacts.
The last type of used breakers that you can purchase would be the high voltage circuit breakers. These would be breakers that are capable to handle over 72500 volts of electricity. These are commonly used outdoors and are installed in chain-link enclosures that are along power lines that carry high voltage electric currents. This type of breakers are operated using a solenoid which, once there is too much power running through it, reacts to fill the chamber where power is flower with a kind of inert material. This inert material can be oil, gas or other inert material which stops the electric current from arcing from a contact on to the next until the circuit breaker is reset.
When buying a used breaker, you need to make sure that you are buying the correct type to avoid any type of accidents or problems. Aside from understanding the different types available, it is also advisable to consult an electrician to be sure that you are getting the right one that you need. You should also check if the breaker has been properly reconditioned and verify if it comes with a warranty. If you are buying from an online merchant, you may want to call their customer service or support department first to ask all of the questions you have regarding the used breakers that they are selling. Through doing all these, you should be able to buy a used breaker that would be able to function properly without having to spend too much money.