What Is a Shunt Trip Breaker and How Does It Work?

Get a complete understanding of shunt trip breakers, how they work, their importance in commercial and residential settings, and their role in electrical safety with this article.

First things first: what is a shunt trip breaker? A shunt trip breaker is a specialized circuit breaker that is designed to remotely shut off power to a circuit in emergency situations, such as a fire or security breach. These breakers are commonly used in commercial and industrial buildings, as well as other facilities where safety is a top priority. In this article, we'll explore this type of breaker in detail and explain why hiring an electrical services provider for a wiring shunt trip breaker is essential. 

The Many Benefits of a Shunt Breaker

Let’s recap: a shunt trip breaker is an electrical component connected to a circuit breaker and allows for remote operation through a schematic and AMP connection. Now that you know what a shunt trip circuit breaker is, it's time to move to the next part of this article: the benefits of using a shunt breaker.

  • Remote Shut-Off: One of the main benefits of shunt breakers is that they can be remotely shut off in the event of an emergency. This allows them to quickly and easily disconnect power in a fire or other emergency, which can help prevent damage to the building and protect the occupants.
  • Increased Safety: Besides remote shut-off, shunt trip circuit breakers provide an added level of safety and security by automatically shutting off power to a circuit in the event of an emergency. This helps prevent electrical fires and other hazards, protecting both people and property.
  • Easy Installation: Shunt breakers are relatively easy to install and can be integrated into existing electrical systems, making it possible to retrofit older buildings with these devices.
  • Cost-Effective: A shunt breaker is a cost-effective solution for increasing safety and security in commercial and industrial buildings. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install and can help prevent costly damage to the building and its contents in case of any emergency.
  • Compatibility: Shunt breakers are compatible with a wide range of electrical systems and devices, making them a versatile and practical solution for increasing safety in various settings.

How Does a Shunt Trip Breaker Work?

A shunt trip breaker works by tripping the breaker when it receives a signal from an external device, such as a fire alarm or security system. This helps to prevent dangerous electrical fires or other hazards. When an emergency occurs, the external device sends a signal to the breaker, which causes the breaker to trip and open the circuit, interrupting the flow of electricity and preventing power from reaching the circuit, allowing for a quick and easy power disconnection.

Types of Shunt Trip Breakers

Now that you know the answer to "How does a shunt trip breaker work", it's time to discover about the two main types of shunt trip breakers.

  • Manual Shunt Trip Breaker: This type of trip breaker requires manual intervention to reset the breaker after it has been tripped, meaning someone must physically go to the breaker and reset it after an emergency situation. This breaker is typically used in smaller residential buildings or situations where a dedicated staff member is available to reset the breaker.
  • Automatic Shunt Trip Breaker: This type of breaker can automatically reset itself after being tripped and is typically used in larger buildings or in situations where there is not always someone available to reset the breaker. These breakers are often connected to fire alarm systems or other emergency management systems for auto-reset.

When is a Shunt Trip Breaker Required?

If you're wondering when is a shunt trip breaker required, know that it is required in any electrical system where there is a need to quickly and easily shut off power in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or security breach. Continue reading as we describe the importance of using shunt trip breakers and how to figure out which one you need to use for your building or facility.

The Importance of Using a Shunt Trip Breaker

  • Shunt trip breakers automatically shut off power in emergencies.
  • They prevent dangerous electrical fires and other hazards.
  • They allow for quick and easy power disconnection in emergencies.
  • They are easy to install and cost-effective solutions for increasing safety.
  • They can be connected to fire alarm and emergency management systems.
  • They ensure that the electrical system is in compliance with safety regulations.
  • They are a versatile and practical solution for increasing safety in various settings.

Which Type of Shunt Trip Breaker to Use?

A manual breaker may be appropriate for a smaller building or in situations with a dedicated staff member available to reset the breaker, while an automatic breaker may be more appropriate for a larger building or in situations where someone is not always available to reset the breaker. Another option to consider is the use of a shunt trip relay, which can be used to trigger a shunt trip breaker remotely. These relays are typically connected to fire alarm systems or other emergency management systems and can send a signal to the breaker to trip it when an emergency occurs.

Shunt Trip Breaker Wiring Diagram

shunt trip definition and scheme for beginners

If you're wondering how to wire a shunt trip breaker, know that wiring can seem like a daunting task, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be done relatively easily. Follow the steps below:

  • Obtain a "How to wire a shunt trip breaker wiring diagram." (Check above).
  • Gather necessary tools and materials such as wire strippers, nuts, and a voltage tester.
  • Disconnect the power and wire the shunt breaker according to the instructions provided.
  • Reconnect power to the circuit and test the breaker to ensure it works properly.

It is important to pay close attention to the diagram and follow the instructions carefully. This will ensure that the breaker is wired correctly and functions. Once the wiring is complete, you can reconnect the power to the circuit and test the breaker to ensure that it is working properly. It is always better to consult with a professional if you aren't confident about the wiring process. 

What Does a Shunt Trip Breaker Do?

We hope by now you know what does a shunt trip breaker do, but here's a recap: a shunt trip breaker is a specialized circuit breaker that protects your house electrical systems from damage or hazards in emergencies. It works by tripping the breaker when it receives a signal from an external device, such as a fire alarm or security system, preventing dangerous electrical fires or other regular hazards.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand what does shunt mean in electrical terms and the role of electrical shunt trip breakers in commercial and industrial settings. Finally, to determine the appropriate type of breaker for your specific needs, it is best to consult an electrical services provider. If you're based in Colorado or surrounding areas, McCarrick Electric has got you covered.

Superior Electrical Solutions in Colorado 

At McCarrick Electric, we have 25+ years of experience providing top-quality electrical services in Colorado. We value all of our customers, and that's why we offer a 15% discount for first-time residential clients and veterans. We take pride in our integrity, attention to detail, and cost-effectiveness. For more information, connect with us via our contact form or give us a call.

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