The Magnificent Fuse: Often Overlooked, Greatly Needed

historical-homeOwning an historical home can be a rewarding experience. Someone who is willing to accept the challenges that a century-old house presents will not only own a piece of history, but also a unique vision that embodies the dreams of another era. Before long, the homeowner will add to that vision, joining a conversation that promises to extend for generations to come.

But there are still challenges, especially with fuses.

For example, in many older homes the electrical system may desperately need attention. If the home was retrofitted after electrification efforts lit up the nation, the wiring has probably begun to deteriorate. In fact, any home built before the 1970’s is vulnerable to the persistent ravaging of the passing years. With the power sensitivity of today’s electronics and the wisdom in modern electrical codes, an assessment by a qualified electrician is an ounce of prevention that is easy to recommend.

fuse-boxOftentimes, older homes employ an electrical system that includes a fuse box.

Safety switches prevent fires, injury, and even death. They do this by interrupting power flow if the electrical current spikes to unsafe levels. The two most common safety switch solutions in an electrical system are the fuse, which is housed in a fuse box, and the circuit breaker, which can be found in a breaker box. The circuit breaker is the most common solution found in homes today, but older homes often continue to rely on fuses.

A fuse box is still a viable safety switch for electrical systems in an industrial setting, but homes should be fitted with a breaker box.Breaker_Panel

For one thing, most regional codes require that a home’s electrical system utilize circuit breaker technology. This is sensible, because the GFCI outlets commonly required wherever electricity might come in contact with water do not work with an electrical system that is reliant upon a fuse-based safety switch. In addition, a fuse must be replaced when blown. It can’t be reset with the same ease as a circuit breaker, which could be a significant hassle on a cold winter’s night. And if the fuse is accidently replaced by one with an incorrect amperage rating, fire or injury may result.

That said, due to their relatively low cost compared to circuit breakers, there is still a place for fuses around the home and vehicle.

The bulk of a home’s electrical system should run through a breaker box, but fuses remain sensible in low voltage applications. For example, you almost always find backup fuses in a box of Christmas lights. And fuses are often used in emergency and security lights, sprinkler systems, and telephone and intercom systems.

While a fuse box containing 300-600 amp fuses are common in an industrial setting, a homeowner still using a fuse box in the home’s electrical system should make the effort to modernize. A breaker box in compliance with today’s electrical codes increases a home’s value and provides the convenience, safety, and peace of mind that your loved ones deserve.

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1 thought on “The Magnificent Fuse: Often Overlooked, Greatly Needed”

  1. I have lived in a house that had a fuse box before and I definitely prefer circuit breakers even if fuses are still a viable option. The biggest reason is just the convenience. Every now and then you are going to overload your circuits and if you have a breaker you can just flip the breaker off and then back on. Problem solved, after you unplug something. However, with a fuse you have to replace it, and if you don’t have the replacement on hand you have to head to the store. So, if you have a fuse box, save yourself some trouble and change it to a breaker box.

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