Home Circuit Breakers Safety

Guide to Types of Circuit Breakers

A circuit breaker is an automatic electrical shutoff switch that protects circuits from overcurrent. Overcurrent, or excess amperage, can come from an overload of the circuit, short-circuiting, an arc fault or a ground fault. Circuit breakers make use of the increased heat or magnetic field from the current and use it to trip the circuit.

Circuit breakers have been in widespread use for nearly a century and are one of the most important fire safety tools in modern homes, buildings and appliances. Although they perform the same essential function as a fuse, they have the benefit of not needing to be replaced when overcurrent occurs, which saves money and allows for quick fixes

In this article, we will take a look at the different types of circuit breakers and what applications they’re best suited for. They vary according to what class of voltage they handle, how they’re constructed, what type of interruption they offer and what type of structural attributes they feature.

Low-Voltage Circuit Breakers

These are one of the most common types of circuit breaker on the market and can be found in homes, businesses and industries. They include the following models:

Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB): Miniature Circuit Breakers do not handle currents higher than 100 amps, which makes them suitable for many home and business applications. Once installed, they’re simple to use but not very tunable — you can’t usually adjust their trip settings, for instance. They operate on thermal or thermal-magnetic properties.

Molded Case Circuit Breakers (MCCB): These circuit breakers can handle currents up to 2,500 amps, making them a more robust choice for higher-power residential and industrial purposes. With higher amp ratings, their trip load can typically be tuned.

What is the difference between MCB and MCCB circuit breakers? MCCBs can handle more voltage, and because of the different requirements set on them, they come in different casing and with different components. Low-voltage circuit breakers are designed to be easily serviced. They’re often easily disassembled for repairs without a user having to take the switchgear apart. Some assemblies are automatic, allowing an operator to open and close them remotely. These circuit breakers can also be used on direct current applications


As shown in Figure H20 the circuit-breaker/ disconnector is the only item of switchgear capable of simultaneously satisfying all the basic functions necessary in an electrical installation. Moreover, it can, by means of auxiliary units, provide a wide range of other functions, for example: indication (on-off – tripped on fault); undervoltage tripping; remote control… etc. These features make a circuit-breaker/ disconnector the basic unit of switchgear for any electrical installation.

Figure H21 shows schematically the main parts of a LV circuit-breaker and its four essential functions:

The circuit-breaking components, comprising the fixed and moving contacts and the arc-dividing chamber

The latching mechanism which becomes unlatched by the tripping device on detection of abnormal current conditions

This mechanism is also linked to the operation handle of the breaker.

A trip-mechanism actuating device:

Either: a thermal-magnetic device, in which a thermally-operated bi-metal strip detects an overload condition, while an electromagnetic striker pin operates at current levels reached in short-circuit conditions, or

An electronic relay operated from current transformers, one of which is installed on each phase

A space allocated to the several types of terminal currently used for the main power circuit conductors

Some models can be adapted to provide sensitive detection (30 mA) of earth-leakage current with CB tripping, by the addition of a modular block, while other models (RCBOs, complying with IEC 61009 and CBRs complying with IEC 60947-2 Annex B) have this residual current feature incorporated as shown in Figure H23.

Apart from the above-mentioned functions further features can be associated with the basic circuit-breaker by means of additional modules, as shown in Figure H24; notably remote control and indication (on-off-fault).

A Guide to Circuit Breakers and What They Do

What Are Circuit Breakers?

A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to regulate the flow of electricity throughout your home or business. Just as the name implies, a circuit breaker is designed to cut or “break” the flow of electricity in the event of a fault or an overloaded current on a specific circuit. This is critical as it eliminates the risk of fires, burned wiring, and ruined appliances from an overloaded circuit.

Circuit breakers perform 3 key functions: protection, switching, and monitoring. Unlike a fuse, which operates and fails once and then must be replaced, a circuit breaker can be reset (either manually or automatically) to resume normal operation. A fuse is the simplest circuit protection device; it has a thin wire, enclosed in a casing, that plugs into and becomes part of the circuit. All the electrical charge and current flows through the fuse wire when the circuit is closed. If the current in this circuit climbs too high and becomes too hot, it burns the wire in the fuse, cutting the current. A circuit breaker does the exact same thing but doesn’t need replacing after it’s tripped.

A tripped breaker is easily fixed by simply pushing the switch back to the “On” position in the breaker panel. A circuit breaker panel contains the circuit breakers for each of the electrical circuits within a building. Before flipping the breaker back on, be sure to turn off light switches and unplug major appliances in the affected location. Continuing to overload the circuit will result in constant power outages.

How a Circuit Breaker Works

Circuit breakers consist of a simple switch, connected to either a bimetallic strip or an electromagnet, with a hot wire within the circuit connecting the two ends of the switch. With the switch flipped to the “On” position, electricity flows from the bottom terminal, through the electromagnet, up to a moving contact, and then across to a stationary contact and out to the upper terminal.

As it flows, electricity magnetizes the electromagnet and the increasing current boosts the electromagnet’s magnetic force. Conversely, decreasing current will lower the magnetism. If the current reaches unsafe levels, the electromagnet has enough strength to pull down a metal lever that’s connected to the switch linkage. This causes the entire linkage to shift, which tilts the moving contact away from the stationary contact, breaking the circuit. With this break, the electricity shuts off, preventing an overloaded circuit and potential damage.

An Easy Guide to Understanding Your Breaker Panel

Still scared of that big gray and black box in your utility room? It’s time to face your fear. Why should you get to know this mystery box? It receives and distributes electricity through your home, and without a little breaker panel know-how, you could end up in a dark or dangerous situation. Luckily, it’s not as complicated to understand and operate as you might think.

How’s It Work?

Your breaker panel is just a big switch, filled with other smaller switches. Like your living room light, flip them one way and you’ve got power, flip them the other and its lights out. As an added bonus, these switches, called breakers, perform an array of safety services, protecting your wiring from overload and your home and its inhabitants from fire and shock.

What Am I Looking At?

The ‘Big’ One – The Main Breaker

This switch is serves as the on/off for electricity in your entire home. 200-amps is typical for homes around 2,000 square feet, with smaller homes utilizing 150 or 100-amp varieties. In the case of an emergency, you can turn off power to your entire home by flipping this switch.

Two ‘Thingies’ – Double-Pole Breaker

Double-pole breakers come in different amperages, which are typically noted on the switch. Common household electronics use 15 and 20-amp, while larger appliances require higher amperage breakers: 30-amps for water heaters and clothes dryers; 40-50-amp for stoves; 70-amp breakers for an HVAC unit, etc.

One ‘Thingy’ – Single-Pole Breaker

These all-purpose breakers are capable of running lots of stuff in your home, from lights to garage door openers. 

AFCI-What? – Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

These handy little breakers prevent fires in the case of accidental electrical discharge/arcing that normally won’t pull enough power to trip a regular breaker.

Huh? Empty Slots

These allow for additional circuits for today’s homeowners to add increasingly more ‘stuff’.

Why Do I Have 2? – Sub Panels

Sub panels (smaller breaker boxes) are often used with additions. Again, it’s a good idea to know what these panels run in case of emergency.

What On Earth Do These Breakers All Operate?

It’s a good idea for you to find out. Fumbling in dark is never good. Flip your switches on and off as needed to identify the zones/appliances in your home they serve – labeling your breaker box by room and area so you won’t have to play guessing games in an emergency.

What Do I Do If I Need to Reset One?

If a breaker trips in your home due to electrical overload, it’s usually easily identified, resting in a different position than others in the box (halfway between ‘off’ and ‘on’). To reset and restore power to the circuit, move the breaker to the fully ‘off’ position, then flip it back to the fully ‘on’ position.

A Quick Guide to Circuit Breakers

In the world of electronics, there are multiple cases and situations where unforeseen mishaps can take place. These disasters can lead to drastic damage and destruction of physical structures such as offices, homes, schools, industries, etc. A prominent case of such an accident is during a short-circuit or any other type of electrical blunder (electric cable faults), when high-fault current flows through the equipment as well as the power network grid itself.

This high current potentially damages the equipment connected in the system and the networks permanently. In order to safeguard these devices from damage, these fault currents must be removed from the grid as fast as possible. Even once it is removed, the system must be restored to its normal working conditions quickly in order to supply a reliable quality of power

In order to ensure timely disconnection and reconnection of various parts of a power system network for protection and control, there must be a unique type of device that can ensure operational safety and control under immense current-carrying conditions. This device is known as a circuit breakers: a special tool which performs the function of switching operations during current-carrying conditions.

Air Circuit Breaker

This type of circuit breaker, which functions in the air at atmospheric pressure, is known as an Air Circuit Breaker. These breakers have completely replaced oil circuit breakers. Their process of arc quenching control is completely different from that of oil circuit-breakers. They are normally used for a low-voltage interruption.

Miniature Circuit Breaker

An MCB is one of the most common devices used to safeguard electrical appliances from potential damages. Using an MCB is electrically reliable, especially when compared to a fuse. A swift restoration of electrical supply is possible as the switch has to be switched on, parallel to a fuse – a one-time device that subsequently needs replacement after accomplishing its purpose.

Switchgear Electrical Maintenance

Why Scheduled Electrical Maintenance is so important

Do you believe in preventive electrical maintenance and testing or do you just count on repairing things as they go wrong? Make do and mend as our parents said. After all, the reliability and integrity of your electrical distribution system should be paramount and so is protecting your equipment and staff. Scheduled Maintenance Inspection and testing and servicing of equipment should be done on a regular basis, at least once every three years, but rather more often for critical components.

lectrical maintenance includes fault diagnosis, regular routine servicing, and repairing electrical components. The three main types of electrical maintenance are:

Preventive maintenance, where all equipment is regularly and properly serviced before any faults occur, where all equipment is kept in good working condition and continuously assessed. The maintenance is carried out when indicators signal that the equipment is deteriorating.

Periodic maintenance, which is the basic maintenance of all equipment by its user or operator and consists of data collection, visual inspection, cleaning, lubrication, and tightening of screws. Minimal training is required, although variables such as temperature, vibration, power consumption, etc., need to be identified.

Corrective maintenance, where the tradesman puts right any defect or fault found in the equipment as it is found.

Preventive Maintenance tasks are completed when the machines are shut down and Predictive Maintenance activities are carried out while the machines are running normally

Avoid long-term issues and save costs — a relationship with Tradesmen on Time is affordable and will allow a schedule tailored to your electrical maintenance requirements to be put in place using our state of the art cloud based booking software.

Tradesmen on Time’s three core values are Do it Right – Do it On Time – Add Value

And whenever you need expert professional electrical contractors, contact Tradesmen on Time — whether it is for scheduled maintenance or a dramatic unexpected last minute problem, installing an air conditioner or a circuit breaker, a switchboard replacement, new data and AV points or an NBN installation.

Tradesmen on Time specialise in air conditioning, data cabling, lighting, ceiling fans, power points, switchboard upgrades, electrical inspections, electrical safety audits, evaporative cooling, NBN problems, safety switch problems and pre-purchase inspections


Best Electrical Safety Tips

Most homes rely on electricity to power appliances, provide lighting and warmth. It is so convenient that we rarely think ‘safety’ around electricity until the danger is obvious.

Regularly check all your outlets

Overloaded outlets are the main cause of electrical fires in homes. Never exceed the maximum power consumption permitted to avoid dangerous faults.

Have a professional repair your electrical appliances

Unless you have taken a professional course on electrical appliances repair, do not try fixing your own devices. Many homeowners have been seriously injured trying to repair appliances while they were still plugged in.

Never touch electrical appliances with wet hands

It is tempting to touch a hairdryer or shaver with wet hands but you should never fall for it. Make sure your hands are perfectly dry before using any electrical appliances to avoid serious injuries

Wear shoes while using power tools

It is important to wear proper attire when handling outside power tools like the lawn mower. You might think it’s cool to mow the yard without shoes on until the blades catch your toes

Fall Outdoor Electrical Maintenance Tips

You may never want to deal with a freezing outdoor light or a hot tub that doesn’t heat up when the winter arrives. Repairing these issues can be extra difficult when the sub-zero temperature sets in. So before the chill wind blows, make sure that all your outdoor electrical fixtures are checked and fixed.

Protect Your Outdoor Lights

Most homeowners and business owners often ignore their outdoor lights thinking that they’re fine as long as they produce light. However, exterior lights such as pole lights, signage lights, and building lights are prone to damage due to their location

Check Your Outdoor Space Heater

Your outdoor space heater draws a huge amount of electricity, and other old electrical circuits in it may not be rated for this kind of use. If you use a portable space heater, you have to make sure that its electrical outlet and circuits are sized properly, and rated for the load. Don’t use the unit on plug strips, two-prong adapters, or extension cords. Talk to your local electrician in Arlington, TX, for expert recommendations

Repair Your Landscape Lights

Your landscape lights did a great job of improving your home’s outdoor aesthetics last summer. Don’t you think it’s time to pay them back for a job well done? Give them a dose of TLC!

Check Your Outdoor Hot Tubs and Spas

Just like your outdoor lights, your outdoor hot tubs and spas can also freeze up when their electrical parts fail, especially when the temperature gets extremely low. Checking and repairing their electrical circuits as early as fall can avoid equipment failure and guarantee a better water heating process throughout the winter.


Are you looking to learn something new about performing preventive maintenance in your building? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This week, we interviewed six different building management experts and asked for their best advice regarding preventive maintenance best practices in their respective fields.

“How does preventive maintenance promote electrical safety in the home and workplace?”

Deerwester: “Each year, too many lives are disrupted by electrical fires and too many families mourn the loss of loved ones who have been fatally injured by electricity on the job. Thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents each year. The best way to protect your family, your home or your workplace against electrical risks is to be prepared and prevent an accident before it can happen.”

“What tips can your organization share regarding preventive maintenance best practices?”

Deerwester: “Electricity is a necessary part of our lives that we tend to take for granted, but using it safely is vitally important. ESFI’s website has a variety of helpful information regarding maintenance best practices. Here are tips that I can share regarding electrical maintenance, HVAC maintenance and preventive fire safety.”

Electrical Maintenance Tips:

Learn about your building’s electrical system so that you can safely navigate and maintain it.

All electrical systems should have an electrical inspection if the building is older than 40 years or has had a major addition, renovation or large appliance added.

Only use licensed, insured and bonded contractors that will stand behind their work.

Only purchase items that have been tested or marked by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to avoid counterfeit electrical goods.

HVAC Maintenance Tips:

If your furnace is more than 15 years old, or if your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it is likely time for a replacement.

Make sure fuel-burning heating equipment is vented to the outside without obstruction.

Replace the HVAC filter at least every 90 days.

Keep intake and output vents clean and clear of debris and dust.

Have your heating and air conditioning systems inspected by a qualified service professional at least once a year to make sure they are running at optimal efficiency and to diagnose any potential problems.

The Importance of Electrical Maintenance and Safety

Electricity can do amazing things; whether it’s charging your cell phone or powering entire cities, it is something that has changed our world and technology as we know it. One of my first experiences with the power of electricity came when I was around five years old. My brothers thought it would be funny to have me grab the electric fence that kept our pigs in the pasture and laugh as I struggled to let go as the fence was zapping me. Needless to say, that experience quickly led me to respect the dangerous side of electricity – and taught me a new trick that I played on a few of my younger cousins growing up too.

Although electricity is a very necessary and useful part of our daily lives, its safety precautions should not be taken for granted. Not only is it vitally important to know how dangerous electricity can be, but special attention about how poor maintenance on electrical systems can lead to electrical failure in equipment, or worse, catastrophic fires should also be noted. Although it may seem insignificant, basic electrical maintenance can go a long way in preventing electrical fires or electrical surges which can damage property. Below are a few basic tips you can do at your home or business to help ensure your electrical systems are performing as they should.

There are many more ways to stop electrical issues before they start, especially for businesses with larger electrical systems, including a standard electrical preventive maintenance program (EPM). A standard EPM program should consist of a scheduled inspection of electrical systems to include testing and maintenance of critical electrical components and their support systems. It is also imperative to remember that whether you’re dealing with electrical components within your business or at home, if you are not familiar or comfortable with electrical systems, have a qualified electrician assist you in any inspections, maintenance, or electrical repair needs.

As I conclude the writing of this article, the words of Elton John’s song come to mind, “And suddenly I’m flying, flying like a bird, like electricity, electricity, sparks inside of me, and I’m free.” Unlike the words in Elton’s song, if your feeling sparks of electricity, you most definitely will not be free. Don’t let poor electrical safety get the best of you.

The Practicality Of A Commercial Led Electrical Lighting

Tips for Choosing the Best Office Lighting

Tips on choosing the best office lighting in Brea can help you pick the perfect lighting for your office. Lighting does more than illuminate a space; it improves visual clarity, enhances focus and affects mood. Office lighting usually serves one purpose: It makes everything bright so the staff can see and work more effectively and comfortably. However, these lights often cause more problems than they are worth, such as producing glares and flickers. Fortunately, you can improve your office with optimal lighting for maximum work performance.

Pick the right bulbs

Light bulbs range in intensity and color based on the Kelvin scale. Most offices use fluorescent lighting with 6500K bulbs, which resemble the lighting intensity of regular daylight. Make sure every light in the office has the same color temperature for balanced lighting throughout the workspace. In addition, try introducing ambient light to the space. Open a window, or place a lamp on the desk with a low-intensity halogen bulb to render your workspace with more clarity.

Supplement overhead lights with task lighting

Reports from Consumer Health state that overhead fluorescent lighting can cause everything from hyperactivity to sleep problems. Switch to task lighting with low-glare bulbs, and position the lighting away from your computer screen and toward your work surface. Gooseneck lamps are ideal for situations when you need to cast more or less light on an area.

Use indirect lighting

Direct lighting combined with a bright computer screen leads to eyestrain, headaches and low productivity. If possible, turn off the overhead direct lighting and substitute it with indirect lighting from lamps. Space the light fixtures evenly around the office for uniform coverage

Choose neutral colors for the office

Whether you light your space with overhead lights, task lighting or wall sconces, optimize the lighting consistency with a neutral room color. Avoid using dark or bright colors for floors and walls. Instead, use neutral tones with low-range reflectance.

What is an ‘L E D Light’?

The L E D stands for Light Emitting Diode. A light-emitting diode is a small semiconductor device. It emits photons of light when electric current flows through it. LEDs are the light source inside the lamps you can buy from our online lighting store.

LED lights have many advantages over other lighting technologies, including:

Higher energy efficiency (‘lumens per watt’),

Much longer lifetime,

Switch on instantly at full brightness,

Precise control and dimmable options available,

Compact size, cooler operating temperature (reduced fire risk), and more

What to Check When Buying an LED Light

Buying the right LED light can be a little overwhelming at first. But if you follow this short guide, you’ll be on your way to getting the best lighting for your home or business.

Lighting Wattage & Brightness

In the old days, you could buy a ’60 Watt’ bulb from the lighting shop, and that was that. Things aren’t so simple anymore, because LED lights are advancing so quickly. In other words: the wattage of a light bulb or fitting is no longer a direct guide to its brightness. So be sure to look out for the “equivalent wattage” or the actual light output (specified in lumens).

Light Bulb Shape & Base

No one wants to find out the light globe they bought is the wrong one and doesn’t fit. Thankfully, all light bulbs have a code which describes their base and shape. So look out for names on your existing light bulbs. Or, check the spares cupboard, and you’ll be most of the way to buying the correct product. See our related blog post for more information: crack your light bulb codes.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting. CFLs are simply miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents. They screw into standard lamp sockets, and give off light that looks similar to the common incandescent bulbs— not like the fluorescent lighting we associate with factories and schools.

LEDs are small, very efficient solid bulbs. New LED bulbs are grouped in clusters with diffuser lenses, which have broadened the applications for LED use in the home. LED technology is advancing rapidly, with many new bulb styles available. Initially more expensive than CFLs, LEDs now bring more value since they last longer.

The Status of Energy Efficient Lighting

With a burgeoning supply of far more efficient light bulb options, the EU began a phased ban of incandescents in 2009. followed suit banning the manufacture and import of higher wattage incandescent bulbs beginning in 2014.

LED Light Bulbs

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are solid light bulbs that are extremely energy-efficient. When first developed, LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, more recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.

Manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by “clustering” the small bulbs. The first clustered bulbs were used for battery-powered items such as flashlights and headlamps. Today, LED bulbs are made using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster, and encased in diffuser lenses, which spread the light in wider beams. Now available with standard bases that fit common household light fixtures, LEDs are the next generation in home lighting.

Which new-generation light bulb corresponds to my old bulb?

Did you know that the lighting in the average home uses around 16% of the total power consumption? This means the lighting in your home holds considerable cost-cutting potential! Replacing your old lamps with a modern alternative is a good start.

When replacing an incandescent bulb or a halogen lamp, you will now have to choose between a LED or a compact fluorescent light. But what exactly is the difference?

Compare wattage

The comparison chart below shows you exactly which energy-saving light bulb or LED lamp you can replace your old incandescent light bulb or halogen lamp with to get the same amount of light (i.e. the power expressed watts).

Think in terms of lumens and forget about watts!

The light output of LED lamps continues to increase exponentially year by year.  Which is why the comparison chart above merely serves as a guideline. Where a 7-watt LED lamp is currently required to deliver a certain light intensity for instance, in a year from now, this may well have dropped to just 5 watts, and is likely to have dropped even further to just 2 watts in four years’ time.

Colour temperature

Alongside the light intensity (number of lumens), the colour temperature is another deciding factor when choosing the right LED lamp.

How to Choose the Right Light Temperature for your Bulb or Fixture

Light appearance is measured in temperature using the Kelvin scale.   Unlike the weather outdoors lower color temperatures (2700K) indicate ‘warmer’ colors of orange and yellow, and higher color temperatures (6500K) indicate cooler colors like blue and white

Know Your Color Temperatures

Most bulbs will advertise color temperature on the package.  This will tell you how warm or cool the color of the light is.

2700K – 3000K – This is the warm or soft white range, best suited for areas in the home where you want to relax or entertain.

3500K – 4500K – This is more a neutral white light range, giving a balance between warm and soft color light.

Over 5000K – Generally referred to as daylight and best suited for use in offices, workshops, bathrooms or other areas where high detail visibility is important. It can also help energize you in the morning.

Some people will also just have a preference for a certain color temperature or mood.  You may even notice a color temperature will look better on your particular skin tone.  The good news is there are options for everyone.

There are also bulbs and light fixtures that adjust color temperature so you can adjust the light to fit your mood or tasks through out the day for even more variety.

Benefits Of Using Infrared Thermography For Commercial Electrical Maintenance

The Benefits of Infrared Scanning for Electrical Maintenance

Electrical and mechanical systems can run into problems without warning. However, equipment failure is frequently preceded by a considerable period of increased heat in the various components of the system. If the increasing heat is detected in good time, the condition can be corrected before the electrical equipment fails. Infrared thermography is a powerful maintenance tool that can identify areas that are abnormally hot or cool. There are some benefits of using the technology to inspect electrical problems.

The inspection can detect several conditions:

Infrared thermography can detect several conditions that may undermine the operational efficiency of your systems. Some of the conditions include overloads, loose connections, inductive heating, open circuits, harmonics, unbalanced loads and defective equipment.


With the high speed at which complex industrial processes run, sudden failure may create hazardous conditions. This could include flying debris that may hurt your workers. By detecting electrical problems in good time, the tool helps to avoid fires caused by overloaded circuits or faulty wiring.

Financial savings

Inspections using infrared thermography will help in detecting problems and allow for repairs. This will mean fewer downtimes, a factor that will, in turn, result in fewer interruptions. When equipment is fixed in good time, productivity will increase, and you will realize significant financial savings.


In most cases, quality is a result of processes that run reliably and consistently. When you can deal with electrical problems, all your systems will operate optimally. This will allow you to deliver quality products, a factor that will not only earn you trust but also boost your business.

Lower insurance premiums

When your business experiences fewer interruptions, you will reduce losses and improve your cash flow. In case you have commercial insurance that protects against interruptions, you will pay lower premiums for the coverage. Compared to manual inspections, infrared thermography will not require you to interrupt services during the inspection. The toll will inspect electrical problems while systems are running. This will help to improve your profits.

How infrared works

The test firm uses either black-and-white thermal scanners, which require liquid-nitrogen cooling, or a modern, multicomponent color thermal-camera system. The color camera in this system is self-cooled, eliminating the need to transport liquid nitrogen.

The principle of operation is that operating electrical equipment gives off heat. This heat can be detected by the thermal camera and viewed and interpreted by an operator. The temperature of the scanned object can be calibrated in black-and-white or in color. Immediate action can be taken to correct the problem, or a picture called a thermogram can be taken and recorded for future reference.

Basic components of the color system are the thermal-sensing camera and a portable, rechargeable battery pack. With just these two components, effective real-time detection of hot-spots can easily be done.

Northeast Testing, however, makes use of several additional components to obtain fast, reliable data. These items are a camcorder/monitor, 3 1/2-in. computer disk system built into the thermal camera, rolling camera support, personal computer, color printer, customized software, and sometimes a VCR.

The thermal camera with built-in disk drive, camcorder/monitor, and battery supply is mounted on a rolling table. This unit is used (the camera can be handheld when desired) in the field when thermal scanning equipment.

The thermal camera has multiple function controls but is easy to operate. Control buttons include freeze-frame, store to disc, temperature level set, and four buttons for sensitivity level adjust: rough and vernier, cross-hair adjust, manual focus, date, time, etc.

Switchgear Thermography

A great deal of investment is presently being made installation of thermal viewing ports for switchgear. These ports allow infrared inspections to carry out without removing switchgear covers, thus it would avoid worker arc-flash exposure. Installation of permanent infrared sensors and continuous infrared monitors are also reasonable methods for recognizing potential thermal failures of critical equipment. The principle of outdoor switchgear assemblies is often compromised by defective strip heaters. The strip heaters increase the switchgear temperature slightly above ambient to prevent condensation during daily or seasonal temperature changes. Functionality of these strips heaters and their effectiveness to carry out this duty can decide by carrying out thermal imaging of the switchgear enclosures. In other words, and once again, absence of heating identifies a potential problem.

Benefits of Thermography Survey

A major insurance carrier estimates that nearly 25 percent of all electrical failures attributed to faulty electrical connections. Therefore, many insurance firms are the driving force behind requiring facilities to conduct annual infrared surveys. Infrared technology has evolved into one of the most effective technologies for preventing failures and added benefit of not requiring an outage to carry out, as it can done on raw. Several further benefits of infrared technology listed below:

Hot spots such as loose connections and bad contacts.

  • Under-rated cables overheating under existing demand.
  • Unbalanced loads.
  • Stressed earth leakage units, circuit breakers, conductors and other electrical elements.

Infrared Electrical Inspection Services

Detect system overloads, loose defective components and damaged switchgear. Infrared electrical testing finds hot, dangerous problems quickly.

Infrared electrical inspections find hot spots caused by defects in connections and components. Infrared thermography is used to find areas of excess heat (caused by increased resistance) so that problems can be corrected before a component fails, causing damage to the component, creating safety hazards and productivity loss.

Because increased heating is a sign of failure, infrared is the best diagnostic tool available for finding these hot connections in the early stages of degeneration. This is why your insurance company may have asked for an electrical infrared inspection, to find and prevent problems before they cause damage to your personnel, equipment and facility.

Conditions Detectable by an Infrared Inspection

  • Loose/deteriorated connections
  • Overloads
  • Open circuits
  • Unbalanced loads
  • Inductive heating
  • Harmonics
  • Defective equipment

How Night Vision Works

Here’s how thermal imaging works:

  1. A special lens focuses the infrared light emitted by all of the objects in view.
  2. The focused light is scanned by a phased array of infrared-detector elements. The detector elements create a very detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram. It only takes about one-thirtieth of a second for the detector array to obtain the temperature information to make the thermogram. This information is obtained from several thousand points in the field of view of the detector array.
  3. The thermogram created by the detector elements is translated into electric impulses.
  4. The impulses are sent to a signal-processing unit, a circuit board with a dedicated chip that translates the information from the elements into data for the display.
  5. The signal-processing unit sends the information to the display, where it appears as various colors depending on the intensity of the infrared emission. The combination of all the impulses from all of the elements creates the image.

Help For You In Purchasing Electrical Panel Upgrades

How to Upgrade an Electric Meter and Panel to 200-Amp Service

Working inside an electrical panel is dangerous and is best left to a professional electrician.


Ensure that power is off to the entire building, which may involve more than just shutting off the main breaker.

Have utility company to disconnect electrical cables from the house.

Remove the glass meter from the meter socket.

Unscrew meter socket from side of house, then use cable cutters to sever the cable connected to the socket.

Enlarge existing cable hole in wall using a cordless drill and 3-inch-diameter hole saw.

Bore through the rim joist using an extension shaft and 2-inch-diameter hole saw.

Attach a length of 200-amp SE electrical cable to the new meter socket.

Feed the SE cable through the hole in the wall and then screw the meter socket to the exterior of the house. Use a torpedo level to ensure the socket is level.

Install the new PVC weather head and conduit to the exterior wall, directly above the meter socket. Secure the conduit to the meter socket using PVC cement. Fasten the conduit to the house with U-shaped plastic clips.

Have the utility company mark the locations of any underground lines. Then, pound two copper ground rods into the ground using a 3-pound sledgehammer. Space the rods 6 feet apart.

Make the wire connections between the ground rods, up to an inter-system bonding termination, and into the meter socket.

Connect the power wires to the meter socket.

Plug the glass meter into the meter socket. Then, snap on the meter cover.

Working inside an electrical panel is dangerous and is best left to a professional electrician.


Ensure that power is off to the entire building, which may involve more than just shutting off the main breaker.

Use diagonal-cutting pliers to sever all wires inside existing electrical panel.

Unscrew and remove old electrical panel from the wall.

Screw a large ¾-inch-thick plywood panel to the wall for mounting the new electrical panel.

Feed the SE cable through the top of the new electrical panel, then screw the panel to the plywood. Use a torpedo level to ensure the panel is level.

Make all the electrical connections inside the electrical panel.

Feed the house circuits into the panel, making sure each cable passes through a cable connector.

Connect the bare-copper ground wires and white-insulated wires to the ground and neutral bar inside the panel.

Plug new circuit breakers into the bus bar.

Run the main ground wire from the bottom of the electrical panel to the copper water main.

Have the utility company reconnect the electrical cables to the exterior of the house.

Label each breaker with the correct house circuit.

Thinking of upgrading your electrical panel or service? Some things you should know

Just like many other electrical contractors (ECs), I get numerous estimate inquiry calls for electrical panel or service “upgrades”. Service upgrades are the mainstay for many ECs businesses–and they are very good at doing them quickly, and with excellent quality.

However, don’t be fooled. Just because an EC has the experience doesn’t mean that are actually good, reputable, or licensed electrician. As with any other contractor you must do your due diligence. Before hiring anyone, you should know how to spot a shady or unlicensed electrician. And of course, you should also know how to hire a good electrician

Before you Say “Yes!”, Ask “Why?”

One of the first questions I ask a potential client is why they want to upgrade their panel or service. As a homeowner, you should do the same thing if your EC suggests a panel upgrade.

One of the big topics of discussion revolves around future home improvement plans. It’s important for the EC to ask about the homeowner’s future plans. What other reno work do they want to do? Does this support their decision to get a service upgrade?

How do you Know when your Electrical Panel needs an Upgrade?

The Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) details the minimum electrical service size should be by using a “demand calculation”.

Breaker Panel Upgrade

Does your home need a breaker panel upgrade?

Your home’s breaker panel, or also known as the fuse box, fuse panel or breaker box, is the central control of the entire electrical system for your home. It distributes the electricity delivered by your electric provider and powers everything in your home. Power to your home is turned on and off by circuit breakers to protect wiring from damage by “tripping” when an electrical short or over-current occurs.

With the arrival of so many new electronic devices over the last 8-10 years, many home electrical systems do not have the capacity to support today’s high powered devices on top of the core circuits they were originally designed to support.

Now is the time to upgrade your home’s circuitry to ensure that your home has the capacity to support your electrical needs without the risk of a fire. You may consider replacing your electrical panel or adding a sub-panel. It’s important to note that a new breaker panel will not provide additional power to your home. To achieve additional power, Amps & Volts Electric Inc., has a process that includes a new breaker panel as well as other accessories, such as new cables and a new electrical meter.

Types of Breaker Panels

When looking at a breaker panel upgrade, there are different types to choose from, each of which meets a certain code requirement or application, depending on your area.

Main Breaker Panels

Main breaker panels have a built-in main breaker which can be used to shut off all power to your residence. A main breaker is a large double-pole circuit breaker that limits the amount of electricity coming in from outside to protect the circuits it feeds. It also identifies your breaker panel’s amperage capacity. Main breakers can be installed when the meter and feeder cable are within 10 ft. of the panel.

Electrical Panel Upgrades

Whether you just built your Charlotte home or your home is decades old, you’ll eventually need to change out your electrical panel. Electrical panel upgrades are needed when your existing panel has the potential to cause issues. These issues can range from consistent circuit overloads to dangerous electrical fires. It’s important to have your panel inspected and replaced as soon as you start noticing issues.

Many older homes don’t have adequate amperage or are lacking in breaker spaces, which can lead to serious problems and safety concerns. New appliances and home updates require higher electricity capacities, and operating your home on an outdated panel can be very dangerous. Even if your panel isn’t causing issues, if you know your panel is outdated it’s always a good idea to have it updated. Not only will your home be much safer, but your appliances and electrical systems will run much more efficiently.

Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

There are quite a few signs that tell us that it’s time to upgrade your panel, but one of the most obvious signs it’s time to upgrade is simply the age of your panel. Many older homes still have 60 amp panels, while most modern appliances and electrical systems require at least 200 amp panels to run efficiently.

It’s common in older panels to combine circuits, which adds unnecessary strain to your panel. This electrical overload leads to issues with electrical efficiency and can lead to dangerous electrical problems in your home. Most large appliances require a dedicated breaker, and with older panels often having far fewer breakers than newer ones, breakers may be used for multiple appliances, which overloads the system and causes serious safety concerns.

Finding and Choosing the Right Panel for Your Home

As we mentioned, most modern homes require an electrical panel rated at a minimum of 200 amps for basic electrical needs. For modern appliances, additions to your home, and features in your home that draw a lot of power, you may need even more than that. The first thing you should do when considering an upgrade is to look at your current panel and search for a new panel with at least 200 amps.


There are many types of electrical upgrades you may consider for your home. Some of the most common types of electrical upgrades include adding a new circuit to your home’s electrical system or adding or replacing switches and outlets, including ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). You may choose to install a whole-home surge protector or upgrade your home’s system of integrated smoke detectors.

What Is An Electrical Panel Upgrade?

Electrical Panel Upgrade, or heavy up, is essentially an upgrade for your power panel. It enables more power to surge through the currents of your home, creating the ability to utilize the most electricity possible, without the dangers of overloading your system.

What Does A Heavy Up Entail?

Your electrical panel heavy up can include a range of upgrades. Your technician will be able to assess your personal need and meet it right away. Some upgrades are as simple as adding on a few circuit breakers to your existing box. Often times you can simply expand the box with a sub-panel. If you’re in need of a more complex upgrade, this could include replacing a fuse box or an old panel with one that is built for a higher energy capacity. At F.H. Furr, your upgrade will fit precisely to your needs!

How Long Does A Heavy Up Take To Complete?

This all depends on the particulars of your job. Simple things like, adding breakers to an existing panel is generally fairly quick, often taking up less then an hour of time. Even installation of a brand new sub-panel shouldn’t take more than a few hours. A more detailed fix could take up some of the day, such as replacing the fuse box or circuit main. These projects are designed to fit your personal needs and schedule.

Does A Heavy Up Improve Electrical Safety?

When you have too many devises sucking power from an insufficient source, you’re in danger of an overload on the electrical system. This could lead to other electrical problems and safety concerns. Using an outdated system is certainly not recommended for electrical safety. When you have an electrical panel upgrade, you’ll never need to worry about a lack of power to operate your home. You can use as much as you need–safely!

Why An Electrician Should Help With Ceiling Fans Installation

Ceiling Fan Buying Guide: Cost, Sizing & Installation

Ceiling fans are a happy meeting of the economical and the esthetic. They’re one of the few household appliances that can save you money — as much as 15 percent off your energy bills — and look good enough to enhance the decor of nearly any room

How to Choose a Ceiling Fan

When shopping for a fan, you’ll need to know what size and style are right for your room and if any of the optional features, such as light fixtures or remote controls, make sense for that environment.

Fans are sized by the length of their paddles, which should be matched to room size. The paddle span on residential fans ranges from 29 to 54 inches. Select paddle size based on the room you want to cool; see “Size It Right.”

If you live in a three- or four-season locale, a reversible fan can provide year-round benefits. During the summer, the forward (counterclockwise) motion of the fan cools the room. With a fan, you’ll conserve power without compromising on comfort. You can typically save between 4 and 8 percent of your cooling expenses for every degree you raise the thermostat in summer.

Ceiling fans can also help lower heating bills — up to 2 percent on heating costs for every degree the thermostat is lowered in winter. To get savings, switch the fan to run slowly in reverse: The clockwise movement breaks up the warm air that collects at the ceiling and pushes it down into the room. (Some fans have a special winter setting, in which intermittent bursts of speed blend warm and cool air.)

How to choose the right ceiling fans for your home.

A ceiling fan adds to the comfort in your home at any time of year. In the warmer months, the ceiling fan creates a welcome breeze. When it’s cold outside, your fan pushes the warm air (that naturally rises upward) back down where it’s needed.

Identify the ceiling fan’s placement. Where do you need the air to circulate? In many rooms, that’s directly in the center. If you have a large area, you might need two fans to handle the job.

Calculate the appropriate fan blade size. Ceiling fans come in a wide range of sizes, with blades that can be as small as just 29” long to as much as six feet! To calculate the right size, multiply the length of the fan blade by two (for the full diameter) and then multiply that figure by the width of the blade. For example, a ceiling fan with 48-inch blades that are two inches wide would cover 192 square feet (48” X 2 X 2”). If you have a bedroom that is 10’ X 12’ (120 square feet), a 30-inch ceiling fan is a good size (30” X 2 X 2”).

Determine the height. The ceiling fan should be placed a safe distance above the people in the room, preferably with the fan blades approximately 8 to 9 feet from the floor. If you’re installing a ceiling fan in a room with an 8-foot ceiling height, choose a flush-mount design. With ceiling heights of 9 feet or greater, you’ll need an extended down rod to lower the fan to a distance where it provides effective air circulation. If you have a slanted ceiling, purchase a slope ceiling mount or slope adapter. To calculate the correct size of the down rod, add 6 inches for every foot over an 8-foot ceiling height. For example, a 10-foot ceiling would require a 12-inch down rod.

Plan for the electrical wiring. Are you replacing an existing overhead light fixture with a ceiling fan? Will your new fixture include both the fan and lighting? Make sure your circuit can handle the ceiling fan’s load. If your ceiling isn’t already wired for an overhead fixture, hire an electrician to safely install the ceiling fan.

How to Choose the Right Ceiling Fan

Most of us don’t think twice before heading off to the shops and buying the first ceiling fan that pleases the eye. At least for me, buying a ceiling fan for the home is a minor detail as compared to say, picking the right lights or choosing the colour of curtains. As it turns out, as if the myriad choices now available aren’t enough to confuse us (growing up, the standard three-blade white fan was a fixture in every home), there is actually a science behind choosing the right ceiling fan. Read these questions and answers to get your money’s worth the next time you need to buy a ceiling fan.

What size ceiling fan should I buy?

The size of the room would determine how big your ceiling fan should be. Fan size is measured by its diameter (blade span), which should be proportional to the space. A fan that’s too small for a room might not stir up enough air and one that’s too big could create a mini hurricane of sorts.

A general rule is that for a room with an area of up to 7 square metres (75 square feet), the fan size should be a maximum of 91 centimetres; 107 centimetres for rooms up to 9.3 square metres(100 square feet), 132 centimetres for rooms up to 21 square metres (225 square feet).

How high up should I hang my ceiling fan?

A fan needs to be suspended 2.4 to 2.7 metres off the ground for optimum air circulation. Do consider the size of the room before deciding on the type of fan – either a hugger fan or a fan with a downrod. Hugger fans, true to their name, hug the ceiling and are meant for low ceilings. Ideal for rooms with ceilings at least 2.4 metres high, they are mounted flush to the ceiling with no extra attachments. A space of 30 centimetres is the minimum required between ceiling and fan.

What’s with the different number of blades?

More is not merrier in this case. The number of blades a fan has is more an element of design than functionality. There is little difference between the performance of a three-, four- or five-bladed fan, so choose one based on preference and style.


How Much Difference Does a Ceiling Fan Make?

Ceiling fans help you stay comfortable. We’ve all been in rooms that are either too hot or too cold, or ones that feel as though air isn’t circulating. Put a ceiling fan in that room, however, and there will be a huge difference in the amount of air moved (otherwise known as CFM or cubic feet per minute).


There are ceiling fans available in all sizes now that can accommodate every space. Some traditionally sized fans may be a better fit for smaller spaces, based on the airflow needs and overall aesthetics. In addition, mini fans – some with just a single blade and small powerhouse motors – can fit in areas as small as closets.

Everyone is aware of the benefits of ceiling fans in summer, but there are many who still do not know the advantages to running a ceiling fan in colder months.

In summer, the ceiling fan should be moving counter-clockwise. (An easy way to check – and point out to your customers – is to stand directly under the ceiling fan to be sure they feel a cool breeze.) The airflow produced creates a wind-chill effect, making you “feel” cooler.

You Want to Put a Ceiling Fan Where?

Make sure customers are aware of the UL-listing for the ceiling fans they are considering. The label details the location the fan is designed for: indoor, damp, and wet.

Ceiling Fan Buying Guide

Am I able to install a ceiling fan in my space?

The vast majority of people find that a fan can be installed in their homes.

How to Choose the size of your fan

Firstly, all fan sizes are given as the diameter (blade span) of the fan. For example, a 52″ fan will measure 52″ from the tip of one blade to the tip of the opposite blade. The greater the diameter of the fan, the more area it will cover. For lounges and living areas, 52″ and 56″ fans are generally a good place to start. In bedrooms 48″ and 52″ fans are usually popular sizes unless the room is very small or unusually large.

Outdoor & Coastal Locations

Australians love the outdoors, with many of us embracing outdoor living areas. The cooling breeze of a ceiling fan can help contribute to a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

AC or DC motor and other considerations

DC fans first started entering the market about 6-7 years ago. At the time of writing this article we offer just over 500 AC fans in our range and over 350 DC. This goes to show how manufacturers have embraced this new technology.

How much airflow will I need?

Airflow is the measurement of air movement generated by the fan, all published figures are based on the highest speed.