Is circuit breaker protection the same as surge protection

Asked Dec 29, 2012
They are not the same.

If a short circuit occurs in the wiring or something connected to it, the circuit will draw so much current it will melt wires and components and can start a fire. A circuit breaker interrupts the circuit when the current flow exceeds the amperage the breaker is rated at and leaves it open until it is reset. For example a 20 amp breaker will interrupt if the current flow exceeds 20 amps.

A surge protector on the other hand, monitors the incoming voltage not the current being drawn. If the voltage exceeds the rated amount, it will alter the resistance and dissipate the excess. Unless it is designed to do so, a surge protector does not normally interrupt the circuit.

All circuits should have fuses or breakers but you don't need surge protection unless the circuit has expensive or sensitive components that might be damaged or operate incorrectly at the wrong voltage. Most power supplies have voltage regulators but they can't handle a spike from lightning for example that could do a lot of damage to the equipment before the current created enough heat to open the breaker.

Bottom line, fuses/circuit breakers are required by law and surge protection is an option for protecting your investment.
Answered Dec 29, 2012
Barrow Systems is the industry leader in providing custom designs for refrigeration and relief valve monitoring to clients in the United States.
Answered Sep 19, 2018

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