When you’re installing a new breaker panel and want to know what is a 50 amp breaker used for? It’s important to know what each breaker does and how much capacity it has. A 50 amp breaker is useful for running large appliances or equipment that requires a lot of power. You might be asking yourself, “What is a 50 amp breaker used for?”
A 50 amp circuit can carry more electricity than a smaller circuit so it’s ideal for larger loads like air conditioning units, electric ranges, electric water heaters, and other heavy duty appliances. A standard household circuit will have 20 amps or perhaps even 15 amps available. So, what is a 50 amp breaker used for? Let’s explore further…
- 1 What is a 50 Amp Rating?
- 2 How many amps can you put on a 50 amp breaker?
- 3 Uses of 50 amp circuit breakers
- 4 How many outlets can I put on a 50 amp circuit breaker?
- 5 Correct Wire Size for a 50-Amp Circuit Breaker
- 6 How many watts can a 50 amp circuit breaker handle?
- 7 Can I replace a 50 amp breaker with a 20-amp breaker?
- 8 How to Install a 50 Amp Breaker?
- 9 What Does a 50 Amp Breaker Cost?
- 10 Final Words: Now You Know What Is a 50 Amp Breaker Used for?
What is a 50 Amp Rating?
A circuit breaker’s amp rating is the maximum power it can safely conduct. It’s not the same as the amount of current a device consumes. If a breaker is overloaded, it will trip, or turn off, to prevent the flow of too much power. A 50-amp breaker is rated to safely conduct up to 50 amps of current. But that doesn’t mean it can carry 50 amps of current all the time. Current is a measure of how much electricity flows through a circuit.
How many amps can you put on a 50 amp breaker?
A standard household circuit will have 20 amps or perhaps even 15 amps available. If you put more than the standard amount of current through a circuit, you’re running the risk of overheating and possibly causing a fire. You can have your circuit checked by an electrician, or you can use a multimeter to check the current. A circuit with a 50-amp breaker can safely handle up to 100 amps of current. This means that if you have several circuits on the same breaker, they should each have a maximum rating of 20 amps. Because the more current you put through a circuit, the hotter it gets, you should be careful not to overload circuits with high amp ratings.
Uses of 50 amp circuit breakers
Circuit breakers protect the wiring in your breaker box by tripping when the current is too high and a hazardous condition (like a fire) occurs.
Now you know why it is used. But, where is this circuit breaker used?
50-amp circuit breakers are mainly used for powerful electrical appliances that are designed to consume heavy current. These are the appliances that are connected to a 240V power source though can also be used on the 120V circuit.
Of course, you have heavy-consuming devices and appliances in your house. Water heaters, refrigerators, and washing machines are just some of them. A 50 amp circuit breaker is ideal for such loads.
In short, 50 amp circuit breakers are perfect for most household circuits.
However, you should always remember the NEC rule regarding the choice of circuit breaker for your circuit. It should not go beyond 80% of the circuit breaker.
How many outlets can I put on a 50 amp circuit breaker?
In as much as a 50-amp circuit breaker is rated among the most powerful circuit breakers, it also has its limits. One of them is the number of outlets that you can connect to this circuit.
The best way to determine the correct number of outlets is to use the 80% rule. Here, 80% will give you the limits of the circuit breaker. so, the circuit should not exceed 40 amps.
From the calculations, a 50 amp circuit breaker should accommodate a maximum of up to 26 power outlets.
Correct Wire Size for a 50-Amp Circuit Breaker
A good circuit breaker should be accompanied by the right type of wire. The size of wire that you choose should meet the international standards, including the American Wiring Gauge (AWG) standards.
If you are using copper wire, the minimum wiring gauge should 6. For aluminum, the wiring gauge is 4.
While it is acceptable to go beyond the required AWG, you should not go below the required standards.
How many watts can a 50 amp circuit breaker handle?
To calculate the wattage, simply multiply the amperes of the circuit breaker with the voltage source. Let’s say you have connected the breaker to a 240V circuit. So, your circuit breaker will be rated at 240 x 50 = 12,000 watts.
This explains why this circuit breaker is perfect for powerful appliances and devices such as cookers, heaters, and washers.
Can I replace a 50 amp breaker with a 20-amp breaker?
While it is possible to replace this circuit breaker with a 20 amp breaker, this is not a safe move to pull. Even if you are using the right wires for the 50 amp wires.
Why is it dangerous? First, a 20 amp breaker is not rated to handle the power of a 50 amp circuit. 20 amps are only meant to handle up to 10 amps.
Secondly, you can’t just use the wires that were connected to the 50 amp circuit breaker. The wires must be able to support the extra wattage of a 20 amp breaker, which they probably won’t be able to do.
How to Install a 50 Amp Breaker?
Check the circuit breaker panel and turn off the main breaker. If it’s a double-feed panel, disconnect both feeders. If the circuit breaker you intend to replace is accessible, shut off power to the panel and remove the old circuit breaker.
Take note of the wire connections and locations. If the new circuit breaker does not have obvious terminal connections, mark each wire with a letter or number. For example, mark the black wire as “B” and the white or neutral wire as “W”. Disconnect each wire and remove the old circuit breaker. Check the new circuit breaker to determine which wire terminals correspond to each of your marked wires. Install the new circuit breaker, reconnect the wires, and turn on the main breaker.
What Does a 50 Amp Breaker Cost?
The cost of a circuit breaker is determined by the manufacturer, size, and rating. It also depends on the quality of the circuit breaker that you are buying.
This is why not all the 50-amp circuit breakers have the same price tag. Choosing a reliable 50 amp circuit breaker manufacturer will save you lots of trouble.
Final Words: Now You Know What Is a 50 Amp Breaker Used for?
A 50-amp circuit breaker is used to power large appliances and equipment that require a lot of power. You should use a 50-amp circuit if you have a large air conditioner, electric range, electric water heater, or other heavy-duty appliance.
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