Why a Circuit Breaker Is Crucial in Any Electrical System

Author: Passey Electric. |


In essence, a circuit breaker is a safety device used to protect an electrical circuit from damage due to a sudden overload or a short circuit. It protects all the equipment connected by cutting off the power in case of a short. 

To highlight just how important this device is, all electrical systems require a circuit breaker by Canadian law to highlight just how important this device is. Generally speaking, you can find them all together installed in a breaker box. The function of the circuit breaker depends on the type, although they have one primary purpose—to cut power (hence the name circuit breaker) in the event of excessive heat, a current imbalance, or a short circuit. 

Each circuit breaker has a specific function that helps to protect your home's wiring and electrical appliances. Currently, three different circuit breakers are available for use in residential settings. Let’s explore them as outlined below before even calling a Lethbridge electrician.

Standard Ones

The standard circuit breaker protects the circuit by cutting off power if the system reaches a certain temperature mark, especially since the current drawn in a circuit has a known temperature range. If the current exceeds the specific temperature, the system draws more current than it can handle.

The circuit breaker's safety feature is designed to prevent the wire from overheating and melting, which could cause a fire or lead to further damage that requires an electrician’s presence. A single-pole standard one protects only one wire, while a double-pole one protects two.


A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) is another circuit breaker that helps protect against electrical shocks. It does so by monitoring the current flowing through a circuit and shutting off the power if it detects a difference between the current flowing into the circuit and the current flowing out. This happens if there is a break in the electrical system, which can happen if someone is electrocuted. 

GFCIs are often used in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where there is a risk of electrical shocks. They can also be used in other house areas like garages, laundry rooms, and outdoors to protect against grounding.


An AFCI circuit breaker prevents fires by interrupting the electrical current before the arc can cause ignitions. It does so by constantly monitoring the current; if it senses an imbalance, it will trip the breaker, shutting off the power before the arc can cause a fire.

An arc fault occurs when an electrical cable's insulation is damaged, resulting from nails piercing the wiring conduit, rodent bites, or age. The AFCI circuit breaker is required to be installed in commercial establishments like dormitories and rentals. The AFCI circuit breaker is an additional layer of protection for your electrical circuit. It is designed to prevent the ignition of a faulty arc, which could cause a fire.


We hope this article has helped determine the different types of breakers and their unique purposes. Now you know which one to use to protect your appliances, your property, and the people in your home.

Contact Passey Electric Today

Get complete electrical solutions for your farm, home, or office building with Passey Electric. We’re a group of Lethbridge electricians who have the tools and expertise to work on new homes, hot tubs, lighting upgrades, and other related needs you may have throughout Southern Alberta. Book now by calling us at (403) 635-6767 or emailing tyler@passeyelectric.ca!