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Residual Current Circuit Breaker

A residual current circuit breaker (RCCB) is essentially a current sensing device. Its function, quite simply, is to detach/disconnect any low voltage circuit when a fault occurs. An RCCB is installed to provide humans protection from electric shocks that, when severe enough, can cause death. It provides this protection by instantly disconnecting the main circuit. Different types of RCCBs are used for single-phase lines and for three-phase lines.

Tripping circuit breaker

In layman’s language, here’s how the RCCB works. The incoming electrical current, or current that flows into a circuit, must always be equal to the current that leaves the circuit (the outgoing current). An RCCB is made in a way it can compare the values of the incoming and outgoing currents of the circuit. When these are not equal or balanced (and this difference is called the residual current) the circuit switches off or ‘trips’. This means that the flow of electricity is cut off to keep your circuits from overheating and causing damage. So, too many high power-consuming appliances used simultaneously in the home can cause a circuit to trip. Tripping is actually a sign that your home is protected!
However, if you frequently experience tripping of the circuit breakers, it is time to call in the professionals to investigate the problem. It’s risky to handle such issues on your own.

Circuit panel overloads

Your home’s circuit breaker panel has a limited number of circuit breaker slots available. Sometimes, all the openings are used and you still need to add another circuit, in which case it’s possible to put in ‘tandem breakers’, but only if your panel is designed for them. A tandem breaker has two smaller breakers built into a regular-size breaker casing, and supplies two separate 120-volt circuits, thus giving you an extra circuit. Some panels allow tandems on just two or four slots while others allow more. No matter how many breakers can snap into the panel, it does not mean that you can exceed the safe load. Exceeding the safe load limit is a code violation, and checking the safe capacity of your panel is an electrician’s job. Never experiment on your own!

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