4 Considerations for Buying and Installing Circuit Breakers

Posted on: 15 July 2020

Circuit breakers are the brains of an electrical grid. They are also a key safety element and are heavily relied on to regulate the current and electrical operation. Because of the vital role that these devices play in any electrical system installation, their selection and installation must be precisely planned and evaluated. Here are a few important factors that are often overlooked when selecting new circuit breakers.

1. What Temperature Will the Circuit Breaker Operate In?

One important thing to consider is the temperature of the cabinet and the area where the circuit breaker will be installed. Circuit breakers are rated for certain ambient temperature levels, and failing to get the right one could result in having to recalibrate the breaker or invest in a new one. 

Monitor the temperature within the installation location for a few days at the peak of the warm weather season. You may find that you can easily work with a circuit breaker rated for 25.5 degrees Celsius but you might discover that airflow is poor and the area warms much more than that. In those cases, you should look for a circuit breaker that's rated for 40 degrees Celsius instead.

2. Is There Any Threat Of Moisture Or Corrosion?

Ideally, circuit breakers need to be installed somewhere free of any moisture or corrosive material exposure. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. If there's any potential for exposure to moisture or corrosive materials where the breaker will be installed, you need to talk to your circuit breaker supplier about getting a unit that has been treated with a moisture and corrosion barrier. This barrier will help to protect the breaker from damage. It also reduces the risk of any mould or mildew growth, which can also cause corrosion.

3. Are You Dealing with a High-Altitude Environment?

Electrical current builds and flows differently in higher altitudes, as does heat. Heat doesn't dissipate the same way. The differences in electrical flow and heat at higher altitudes can wreak havoc on circuit breakers. If you are dealing with a facility at high altitude, you need to talk with your circuit breaker supplier at length about your options to ensure that you are buying circuit breakers that are specifically designed for a high-altitude environment.

4. Do You Need to Account For Wind? 

Some areas are far more prone to high winds than others. If you're installing your new circuit breakers in an environment that's prone to high winds, you need to consider that threat when you choose your breakers and cabinets. Circuit breakers should always be installed in protective cabinets when high wind is a threat. Additionally, you should opt for breakers and an installation structure that has a little bit of sway with the wind. Failure to do this can result in the wind damaging the structure and potentially interrupting the circuit, leading to a power supply failure.


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