Although many homeowners switched their electrical panels over to circuit breakers, many houses still contain fuse boxes. These fuse boxes rely on fuses in order to prevent power overloads and short circuits. If any issues occur, the result may be a blown fuse. To help you identify, fix and avoid blown fuses, we have created an extensive outline.
How to Tell If A Fuse Has Blown
It will be pretty obvious to you right away if you have blown a fuse in your house, as the switch you’re trying to flip, or the outlet you want to use, or even the appliance you’re trying to run, stops working. You may also suddenly find yourself in the dark.
What Does a Blown Fuse Look Like?
If you suspect you have blown a fuse, you can also go and look directly at your fuse box. Frequently, a blown fuse will cause small amounts of melted metal in your power box. In addition, you may notice discoloring in the glass window at the top of the fuse. If you’re still unsure if you’ve blown a fuse, you can try replacing the suspected damaged fuse with one you know is working correctly and if power is restored, then your problem is solved.
Another way to test for a blown fuse is to use a tool called a multimeter, and connect the fuse to the multimeter to check for resistance. If there is resistance showing on the reader, the fuse is blown, and if no resistance registers then the fuse should still be good.
How to Replace a Blown Fuse
Replacing a blown fuse is actually a very easy task, and one that any homeowner can reasonably do themselves. The first step to fixing a blown fuse requires you to check the amperage rating of the fuse you need to replace. Newer fuse boxes contain a built-in safeguard, which allows you to screw in the correct sized fuse. Plus, this helps prevent electrical fires.
After ensuring that the device that may have tripped the fuse is unplugged or turned off, you will next need to unscrew the blown fuse or pull out the cartridge, removing it from the fuse box. Take the new fuse out of the package and screw or slide it into the empty hole. Your power should now be restored. Be sure to dispose of your blown fuse according to local bylaws.
What Causes a Blown Fuse?
There are a couple of reasons a fuse is blown, including:
1. Electrical Overloads
Overloading the circuit occurs when too much power draws on a single circuit. For example, avoid running your dishwasher and dryer on the same circuit because they both use high amounts of power.
If you operate both of these appliances on the same circuit, you may encounter a blown out fuse in your house. When the circuit overloads, the metal ribbon within the fuse will melt, causing the electrical connection to open. As a result, the power stops. A qualified electrician calculates and wires safe loads for your fuse box.
2. Short Circuits
A short circuit occurs when electrical components accidentally touch or cross. This can happen anywhere along the circuit, from the wiring within your house, to the power cord of a device itself.
To fix a short circuit, you must isolate and identify the circuit containing the blown fuse. Next, check for any shorts by tracing the entire length of electrical wiring on that circuit. A qualified electrician can also perform this task. You must replace a fuse after it has blown in order to restore power, as the fusible link within the unit has melted, eliminating the connection that completes the circuit and allows power to flow.
Tips and Insights: Advantages of AFCI Circuit Breakers and Receptacles
Types of Fuses
There are two main types of fuses commonly used in homes today. They are plug fuses and cartridge fuses. It’s a good idea to keep spare fuses on hand in case one blows.
What Are Plug Fuses?
Plug fuses feature a screw-in design and a glass window that lets you quickly see if a fuse has blown or not. They typically come in 15, 20, or 30 amp sizes and are frequently used to protect 120-volt circuits. The cost of a plug fuse is typically around $2 to $5, and will depend on amperage.
What Are Cartridge Fuses?
Cartridge fuses are cylindrical in shape and have contacts on either end that plug into the fuse box. They are frequently used to protect 240-volt circuits and often require a special tool called a fuse puller in order to be replaced. The cost of a cartridge fuse is anywhere from $10 to $200, depending on specifications.
Electrical Repair and Replacement Services
If your fuses continue to blow, you will likely need to reduce the load or check for shorts on that particular circuit in order to fix the issue. Do you need help fixing a blown fuse? Our team of emergency electricians in Waterbury, CT and other areas offer dependable electrical panel replacement services for homes. Our professionals will help you restore the power to your electronic devices and appliances.
Our team also provides other electrical services such as light switch installation, wiring inspections, ceiling fan replacement, and whole-home generator installation. If our staff discovers electrical hazards in your living space, we may recommend rewiring your system. To prevent electrocution or industry, do not attempt to fix an electrical issue in your house without a certified electrician. Give our technicians a call at (860) 325-7836 to receive assistance with a blown fuse or other electrical issues in your house.