Monday, May 27, 2013

Old or obsolete Circuit Breakers

When was the last time you checked the circuit breakers in your home? How old is your home? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. The major concern is safety, since electric fires can start as a result of neglecting the breakers in your panel box. The next concern is how bad breakers can affect your everyday life. Imagine one day you're busy typing up a report for your job when the power goes out and you lose all your work. You check the panel box and one of the breakers have tripped. I had this happen to me a few months back and we'll make sure it doesn't happen to you.

The Demand for more Power

Each year our appliances obtain new features to make our lives more convenient, but the more automation you have in a system the more power it demands. Take a computer CPU or Video card that constantly requires more wattage from the PSU. Imagine you have three PCs and an air conditioner all on one series circuit in the house. This can put a tremendous strain on a single breaker which could cause them to trip and die faster than they should.

What's the solution?

Buy two new breakers and just keep them on standby in case one of your breakers go bad. If you're moving into a new home then replace all the breakers with new ones. This can be costly but you won't have to worry about it in the long run.

AFCI breakers

I'd recommend purchase of AFCI type breakers for your home. Many house fires start from bad or old electrical wiring. These types of breakers specialize in preventing electric fires from old wiring when an instant surge of heat is detected.

The cutler hammer br120caf is a great arc fault breaker that you can purchase. It's more expensive than a normal breaker but well worth the extra cost.

Choosing the right equipment

Just make sure to match the right breaker to the proper panel box by checking the brand.

Panel Board Circuit Breaker requirements

  • Zinsco require type UBIZ breakers.
  • Westinghouse & Bryant panels need Cutler Hammer breakers, BR series.
  • Wadsworth panel boxes take type UBIA or type VPKWB.
  • Square D panel boards take Siemens breakers type QD or Cutler-Hammer type CHQ breakers.
  • Siemens panels take type UBITBC breakers.
  • Pushmatic panel box take type UBIP breakers.
  • Federal Pacific Electric panels take type UBIFN.
  • Challenger panel boards take type UBITBC and UBITBA breakers or cutler-hammer BR series breakers.


As always if you're not sure how to replace a circuit breaker properly, contact your local electrician to perform the service for you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Let's take a look at the Cutler Hammer - Westinghouse BAB3020HS circuit breaker.

I recently bought a reconditioned BAB3020HS from all electric needs inc.  When I initially received it I was surprised at its condition despite it being used.  I installed this roughly four weeks ago and everything has been working optimally so far.   What surprised me is that these guys actually offered me free ground shipping despite the price being very competitive already.  I was a bit skeptic at first but fortunately everything came through perfectly. I even got my shipment ahead of schedule which was nice.

This circuit breaker weighs about three pounds. Here are some of its specifications:

- 20 Amp
- 240 Volt
- 3 Pole with a shunt trip
- Is thermal magnetic
- Rate interruption is 10000
- Mounting Bolt
- BAB series

Installing cutler hammer circuit breakers is always a smooth process. If you ever need access to the technical specifications you can access them from this pdf here.