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HACR Breaker Vs Regular Breaker

A circuit breaker is the preferred option while setting electricity on your property (either in the house or office). It stops the current flow instantly whenever there is an electrical overload to safeguard the home/office from electrical fire or shocks. So, its limitations, compatibility, load capacity, and installations have to consider before making its purchase. Most people get confused about HACR breakers and regular circuit breakers.

Here, in this tutorial, we are giving a clear explanation of the difference between a HACR breaker and a regular breaker. So, you will get an idea of which one to install and how they operate.

In general, regular circuit breakers are used to deliver and manage the current supply to various electronic devices, while a HACR breaker works similarly yet is considered the best option for HVAC equipment (like exhaust controls, combustion fans, furnaces, AC compressors, and refrigerators).

Before getting into the details, you should know what is HARC and regular circuit breakers.

HACR Circuit Breaker

HACR stands for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration. This inverse-time circuit breaker is widely used with the group motor/multi-motor or combination load installations found in HACR equipment or HVAC equipment that includes fan motors, and compressor motors. It safeguards and prevents frequent tripping circuit  caused to overcurrent in the home or workplace, as it handles a brief surge in the amperage needed for starting a compressor or other devices.

Regular Circuit Breaker

Standard or regular circuit breaker offers protection for appliances, equipment, and property due to electrical fault. As it tracks (manages & provides) electricity in electrical wiring appliances, systems, and outlets and stops the current flow during short circuits or overloads to protect the circuit and thereby prevent electrical shocks/fires. They protect HVAC equipment without any requirement to label a circuit breaker with HACR.

HACR Circuit Breaker Vs Regular Circuit Breaker

Let’s dive into its details to get extra insight into regular and HACR circuit breakers. Have a look at their purposes, functionality, and other difference to choose the correct option.

1. Functions

A regular circuit breaker prevents causing any damage to the connected devices from short circuits or over-current. While HACR circuit breaker can easily handle a momentary surge of electricity, which safeguard the compressors and other HVAC equipment. Also, this HVAC breaker corrects the inconsistency issues in the old models of circuit breakers.

2. Purposes

As we already mentioned that HACR breakers are the perfect option to manage HVAC equipment, yet these might require a high amperage rating to control and protect the circuits attached to HVAC units. Thus, it works effectively compared to standard breakers. For example, a HACR circuit breaker requires at least 30 amps to protect and run the devices connected to its circuit, while a regular circuit breaker has a 20-amps rating.

However, you can find this HACR breaker with a 60-amp rating (like a square D model of up to 2500A & 600V) that is used to deal with large equipment like central AC.

3. Labeling Differences

If you use a HACR circuit breaker, you need to focus more on the labels and check its manual or housing for its rating.

For instance, you can find the labeling of HACR circuit breakers from the popular brand called Schneider will be like this – HOMT or HOM, MA or MH, LA or LH Q4, FA or FH

Coming to regular circuit breakers, it is quite simple as you need to check out if it is a double pole or a single pole type and thereby its ease of installation.

4. Cost

The cost is one of the essential aspects to consider while purchasing this circuit breaker. The cost of the HARC circuit breaker will range from $100 – $500, while the cost of a standard circuit breaker will be around $10 – $50. Apart from the cost, you need to spend a bit more on its installation.

5. Brands

Most manufacturers design and manufacture both these circuit breaker types. Yet some brands you have to look after will be Siemens, GE, or Eaton. Apart from that, you must purchase from a reliable retailer at a reasonable price.

6. Requirements

As per the National Electrical Code (NEC), local electrical codes have particular requirements. However, there are specific rules in some areas that can vary from NECs. For this, you have to check the local building code department before installing this circuit breaker.

7. Warranty

Irrespective of the type of circuit breaker, there is a minimum of 1-year long warranty on the product and might offer a lifetime warranty as well. Apart from the warranty, you have to check the online reviews and ratings along with customer service to make the right option.

Comparison Table: HACR Circuit Breaker Vs Regular Breaker

Parameters HACR Circuit Breaker Regular Circuit Breaker
Protection Complete Circuit Individual Outlet
Installation Relatively difficult A Bit Easy
Price Expensive Reasonable
Amperage Rating At least 30 amps At least 20 amps
Purpose Especially for HVAC equipment All Devices

HACR Breaker Vs Regular Breaker FAQs

1. What is the meaning of numbers and letters on the circuit breaker?

Ans: The numbers and alphabetic symbols will inform you about the circuit breaker’s capabilities and properties. Here the first letter denotes the frame type of the breaker, the second is its interruption rating, and the third letter is the circuit breaker lug type. Coming to its digits, the first digit represents either a single, double, or triple pole unit, the second one is for voltage rating, and the final one is for its amperage rating.

2. Which one is a better option – a HACR breaker or a standard breaker?

Ans: It is quite essential to decide beforehand whether to opt for a HACR or a regular circuit breaker. The main thing is that you need to choose them based on your devices/appliances.
Simply to say, use a standard/regular circuit breaker for normal devices but not for special/powerful devices, while using a HACR circuit breaker for HVAC equipment. Also, ensure to get the details of the letters or numbers on the housing of the breaker. Thus, mistakes won’t happen in installing a proper electrical wiring system on your property.


One can set a perfect electrical wiring setup when they understand the difference between the HACR breaker and a regular breaker. Inappropriate use of breakers might result in multiple tripping due to short circuits or over current. So, use the correct type of circuit breaker and enjoy the safe, and effective working of your devices.

Feel free to share your queries or thoughts with us in the below comments section.

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