Branch Circuit Breakers: Tips for Proper Maintenance

Branch Circuit BreakersWhen properly maintained and installed, circuit breakers will function as expected for multiple years. On the other hand, those that aren’t properly maintained within a period of five or more years have a 50% chance of failing in the most inopportune times. To extend the service life of your circuit breakers, look to the following tips:

  • Majority of circuit breakers fail simply because they are forgotten, meaning they don’t get sufficient activity. Dirt, burnt trip coils, corrosion, hardened grease, as well as broken or misaligned components could all contribute to a circuit breaker malfunctioning.
  • There’s really no way to determine if a breaker is capable of operating under overload or fault conditions unless you test it with proper branch circuit testing equipment.
  • A circuit breaker with mold growth is rated for between one and three full faults. In the event that they trip, there’s a huge risk in case the short circuit is still functioning.
  • A circuit breaker that has tripped must be checked, along with the load they support, prior to resetting.
  • Correct exercising of circuit breaker mechanisms involves removing the breaker and testing short circuit and over current potentials.
  • Circuit breakers that don’t open under fault could lead to fires, worker injuries, and equipment damage. Sticky or rigid breakers could likewise lead to flash/arc accidents and time delays.
  • Breakers must always be kept clean because dirt buildup surrounding the breaker could result in heat accumulation, which in turn could lead to nuisance trips.
  • All circuits, breakers, and related equipment must be checked and tested only by qualified professionals.
  • Consider replacing older circuit breakers or those that have tripped multiple times to prevent issues and accidents.

Testing of circuit breakers is recommended during startup and at least every two or three years. Likewise, when exercising a breaker, turn it off, then on, for three to four times at least to make certain that it doesn’t become stuck in a closed position, restricting it from tripping in case of an overloaded circuit or direct short. If you’re aiming for continuous uptime, minimum downtime, and a proper maintenance program, proper checking, exercising, and testing of branch circuit breakers is a great preventive measure that you should be implementing.