The Differences Between Circuit Breakers and GFCI

The Differences Between Circuit Breakers and GFCI

June 28, 2023

Residential and commercial buildings rely on electrical systems to perform daily activities. Wiring is a vital component of every system and often comprises circuit breakers and outlets. These elements are critical in preventing hazards like electrical shorts and surges. However, there are differences between circuit breakers and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If you suspect a problem with your home’s wiring, we recommend hiring a professional electrician. At Mr. Electric of Dallas, we leverage extensive experience and industry knowledge to inspect, diagnose, and address electrical problems. Before you attempt a circuit breaker replacement, here’s what you need to know about both breakers.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a switch that breaks the circuit when there’s an overload or a short. This goes a long way to protect your wiring and other electrical components from damage. If your home or workplace has a high amount of electricity branching out into different lines, it may be time to consider installing a circuit breaker.

Some circuit breakers use fuses as backups during an electrical overload. If the breaker trips, the fuse protects your electrical components and wiring. However, frequent trips may show a more severe underlying problem requiring a circuit breaker replacement in Dallas. In such cases, it is advisable to hire an electrical repair service to handle the heavy lifting.

What is a GFCI Receptacle?

Ground fault circuit interrupters are electrical outlets with built-in circuit breakers. These devices shut off the power when there’s an imbalance or excess current. This makes GFCI receptacles ideal for outdoor spaces or outlets near water sources, such as a bathroom or kitchen. Installing a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle protects your loved ones from electrocution and fire hazards.

Differences Between GFCI Receptacles and Circuit Breakers

Although these breakers serve similar purposes, they have differences. It is crucial to consult an electrician before deciding which breaker you want to install, ensuring you choose the right one. Here are some differences between the two breakers.

  • Usage

Circuit breakers are usually used in industrial and commercial applications. However, GFCI receptacles are used in residential settings, along with circuit breakers in electrical panels. Circuit breakers are more effective and reliable in preventing faults, and GFCIs provide basic-level protection. If you experience an electrical short, you must manually reset the circuit breaker. GFCIs reset automatically. We recommend circuit breakers for complex systems, especially in commercial buildings, where it is difficult to detect the cause of a fault.

  • Purpose

As mentioned, GFCIs offer essential level protection against electrocution and wiring damage. In addition, ground fault circuit interrupters detect slight imbalances in electrical current, usually caused by damaged appliances or faulty wiring. Circuit breakers prevent severe damage following a short circuit or an electrical overload.

GFCI receptacles and circuit breakers protect against electrical hazards, but these differences can help you determine the most suited for your building. Contact us at Mr. Electric of Dallas and schedule a consultation with our expert electrical repair service providers. We guarantee top-notch installations, repairs, and maintenance at friendly rates.