Published on February 29, 2024

Do you have a good game plan to keep your breakers and electrical systems well-maintained and reliable at your commercial building or facility?

As a building or facilities manager, it helps to understand the basics of breaker testing, who should perform this type of testing, and what types of tests are available based on your unique needs.

In this guide, we’ll explain the process of breaker testing and how to schedule ongoing testing, repairs, and maintenance.

Understanding the Commercial Circuit Breaker Testing Process 

Every commercial building has different electricity requirements, and the goal of breaker testing is to verify the circuit breaker functions correctly. Circuit breakers should be able to effectively interrupt electrical currents, when necessary, like in the event of a short circuit or overload.

Step 1: Visual Inspection

To start, a qualified technician will visually look for signs of damage on the breaker itself, including connections and surrounding components.

Depending on the diagnosis and type of breaker will determine what tests may be needed.

Step 2: Breaker Testing

To assess any potential issues, a range of electrical tests can be performed to measure the breaker’s insulation resistance, contact resistance, and to ensure there are no electrical leaks or faults that could compromise performance.

These tests are commonly performed at a breaker shop, where various tests can be performed.

Upon inspecting a circuit breaker we’ll first perform an assessment to determine any discrepancies. If a refurbishment is deemed needed, the circuit breaker will go through the refurbishment process per NETA and PEARL standards.”—Phillip Kragness, Director at Power Products and Solutions

Many electrical tests are performed on the circuit breaker and may include functionality like:

  • Trip Time Testing (Primary and Secondary Injection)
  • High Current Testing (Primary Injection)
  • Contact Resistance Testing
  • Insulation Resistance Testing
  • Operating Characteristics Testing

While test sets can provide a variety of data points, other tests like thermal imaging can detect abnormal heat patterns in breakers and identify potential issues while the circuit breaker is in service. This test would be performed before removing the circuit breaker from service and arriving at the breaker shop for further assessment.

Step 3: Adjust or Repair as Needed 

Once incoming circuit breaker testing is complete, technicians may recommend repairing and/or refurbishing the breaker if needed. Once issues are resolved, they will calibrate trip settings to the provided coordinated settings to ensure the circuit breaker operates accordingly per NFPA 70E.

How to Maintain Your Circuit Breakers 

Before scheduling ongoing maintenance, you’ll want an expert to assess the condition of your existing circuit breakers based on factors like age, voltage, and rating. A new component is less likely to cause safety issues or break down under normal operating conditions.

Here are a few tips to maintain any commercial circuit breaker:

  • Ensure you schedule regular breaker testing to ensure equipment performs as it should.
  • Look for warning signs of faulty circuit breaker issues before they cause damage.
  • Always seek professional repair and maintenance from NETA-accredited and PEARL-certified organizations like Power Products and Solutions.
  • Minimize switching of the circuit breaker, which wears internal components.
  • Protect against short circuits with fuses or current-limiting devices.
  • Avoid exposing the circuit breaker to extreme temperatures, moisture, and corrosive substances.
  • Train staff on proper operation of breakers and standards like NFPA70E.

circuit breaker repair with red safety gloves on

Schedule Circuit Breaker Testing With Power Products & Solutions 

In addition to circuit breaker testing, Power Products & Solutions can help you repair and maintain panel boards, switchboards, and transformers, as well as acceptance testing as a NETA-certified company. We also provide NFPA70E training to our customers, the standard for workplace electrical safety.

Our goal is to give our customers peace of mind, knowing their power systems function and are protected as they should. Our expert technicians provide circuit breaker testing, repair and 24/7 emergency services to fulfill all your power needs.

To schedule commercial circuit breaker service, give us a call or reach out to our team online.