16 November, 2023

How do you identify circuit breaker types? A circuit breaker is a component that protects your electrical devices from power surges or other electrical issues. It’s essential to know which type of circuit breaker you have installed in your home. 


You will require this information regarding maintenance, repairs or replacing broken parts. 


In this article, we will teach you how to identify your circuit breaker type, explain how a circuit breaker works, and how to help you determine what kind of circuit breaker you have.

Common Circuit Breaker Types


What kind of circuit breaker do I have? Take a look at the label on the circuit breaker box; if there isn’t a label, you will need to open the circuit breaker panel door and look for a label there. In the box, you should find the manufacturer’s label. 


This label will provide valuable information such as the model number, amperage, and voltage rating. 


If, for some reason, there is no label visible, you will need to use a multimeter to measure the voltage and amperage of the circuit breaker.

  • Standard Circuit Breakers

These circuit breakers are found in most homes. They are straightforward and trip when the circuit is overloaded. This type of circuit breaker can be single-pole or double-pole. In a residential house, the breaker is usually 1 inch and uses a single pole. This means that they take up one slot on the panel. A double pole is usually used for commercial facilities.


Standard circuit breakers don’t protect against current going to earth or arc faults. 

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

This refers to a specific type of outlet that you plug devices into. They are installed directly onto the circuit breaker panel. They work in the same way as the standard circuit breaker by interrupting the circuit whenever current flows. The CFCI will stop the flowing current from being dangerous. Ground fault circuit breakers are usually found in areas prone to moisture. This includes kitchens and bathrooms. Outlets have a test and reset button to check if the unit functions correctly. If a ground fault is detected, the GFCI will automatically switch off. To restore power, you will need to use the reset button. 

  • Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

An arc fault circuit interrupts detected arc faults. These are electrical discharges in the air from an electrical component to a grounded component. This is incredibly dangerous as it can lead to fire damage. 


The AFCI monitors current flow via the circuit interrupter. It can determine whether the circuit is normal or if it needs to trip to protect the circuit. There is a purple switch that indicates the test button. They are used to prevent fires, while GFCIs are used to protect you against being shocked. 

  • Dual-Function Circuit Breakers

The dual-function circuit breaker combines a class A 5mA GFCI and type AFCI that protects both against arc faults and ground faults. These units have a self-test feature, so it’s an ideal safety feature to add to your home. 

How to Identify the Type of Circuit Breaker?

Let’s look at how to identify the type of circuit breaker.

Visual Inspection

The best and most straightforward way to identify a circuit breaker type is to look at the breaker box label. Each manufacturer adds a label to the inside of the panel that determines the kind of breaker box you have. 


The label will include safety warnings, the model type, and suggested breaker types. It should also label each circuit that is available in the electrical system.

Read the Label or Panel Information

The panel’s labeling provides vital information about the circuit breaker. This allows you to identify faults quickly and safely. Each circuit is generally labeled during the initial wiring installation. They are numbered to correspond to their respective switch. These labels help during an emergency as you can easily identify which area of your house has tripped and act accordingly. If you need to turn off power to specific appliances, switch the corresponding breaker off. 

Using  Manufacturer Manual

The manufacturer’s manual will provide crucial information, such as the brand name and serial number and the maximum amperage ratings. This is often as 5KA or 10KA, which indicates the maximum current it can trip. It will contain information on the voltage rating of 110 VAC, 220 VAC, or 240 VAC. Other information includes the frequency line breaker and how much the breaker can handle.

Consult an Electrician

In some cases, you may not want to identify the type of circuit breaker yourself. For repairs and installations, and everything in between, you can consult an electrician to assist you and offer expert advice. 


ESD LLC is one of the leading providers for your circuit breakers and electrical equipment needs. Let the experts handle it for you to have complete peace of mind.

Consult ESD for Types of Circuit Breakers

ESD provides good-quality electrical products; ESD has been in business for over ten years and has an excellent customer service rating. If you’re looking for a trustworthy partnership, easy and pleasant technicians, great competitive pricing, and a wide variety of inventory quality products, look no further. 


Contact us today on how to identify circuit breaker types and expert advice so you don’t get left in the dark.