Home General How to Measure the Amperage of Your Circuit Breaker?

How to Measure the Amperage of Your Circuit Breaker?

by Olufisayo

If you are doing anything involving electricity in your home or business, you’ll probably run into a circuit breaker sooner rather than later. Circuit breakers are crucial components of most electrical systems. You should know about them if you’re tackling an electrical job in your house or elsewhere.

We’ll talk about circuit breakers right now. In particular, we will discuss how you can figure out a circuit breaker’s amperage.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a type of safety device that’s a part of many electrical systems. You might come across something like a 50-amp double-pole breaker when you’re inspecting the electrical wiring in your home.

Such a device will protect an electrical circuit. If there’s a situation where there’s too much of an electrical current running through part of the system, that trips the breaker. This interrupts the current flow, so there’s no fire, and no costly equipment is damaged.

What is Amperage?

As for amperage, you might hear an electrician refer to them as amps. They are the way you measure how much electrical flow is running through an electrical system when it’s on and functional.

If you want to figure out watts, which is how much power an electrical device consumes, you simply multiply the amperage by the voltage. Circuits are designed to have only a certain electrical flow capacity. If too much power floods the system, that triggers the circuit breaker.

What is the Prefered Way of Learning a Circuit Breaker’s Amperage?

You can learn a circuit breaker’s amperage in multiple ways. The easiest way, though, is to look at the amperage rating. It should be prominently featured on any circuit breaker when you look at it from the front. If you go to the circuit box and look at the breakers, they should all have their rating marked on them.

You should see a number on the circuit breaker when you look at its handle. It might say 15 or 20. Those are the two most common amperage ratings. Occasionally, you might see one that says 30 or 50. You need those for any dedicated, so-called “high-load” circuits.

Will You Ever See a Circuit Breaker Without an Amperage Rating?

All circuit breakers come with amperage ratings on them. That is because various electrical systems or components need breakers with different amperage ratings. If you install a breaker with the wrong amperage, it might not trigger at the right time. That could cause a fire or expensive electrical system damage.

The number you’ll see on a circuit breaker’s handle is always stamped on there in a contrasting color to the breaker itself. That is so anyone can easily read it.

You can also use a clamp multimeter. To do so, you clamp its jaws on an active electrical wire. The device will display the amps that are running through that wire. That should tell you the amperage of the attached circuit breaker as well. Only do this if you’re wearing heavy-duty gloves, though.

Photo by Troy Bridges on Unsplash

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