Although made of older technology, a properly used fuse box can be as safe as a circuit breaker panel. The electrical system of many older homes may still use fuses, but all new homes have circuit breakers installed. If your home still has a fuse box or you are thinking of purchasing an older property that has one, there are several important things to consider.
When 21 amps of electricity passes through a 20-amp rated fuse, a thin wire melts down and opens the circuit, terminating power before damage occurs. Similarly, circuit breakers protect circuits from being damaged by an overcurrent, short circuit or overload by cutting electricity after its relays find a fault. Both fuses and circuits breakers help protect houses against electrical fires. The big difference is a blown fuse has to be replaced, while circuit breakers can be reset.
Modern Electricity Usage
Aside from reusability, circuit breakers have several advantages over fuse boxes. Fuses came into use when electricity was used much less. Back then, most homes did not have air conditioning, and a fuse box rated for 60 amps was sufficient. A modern house is quite different. Aside from appliances, we now have devices such as flat-screen televisions, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. All need power, and 200-amp circuit breakers are the current norm.
Danger from Overloading
Typical fuse boxes are no longer up to the task, leading to the unsafe practice of replacing old blown fuses with new fuses rated at higher amperage. Unfortunately, the old wiring can’t handle the increased current, which will damage their insulation and might cause a fire. Double tapping is the dangerous practice of connecting multiple wires to one fuse lug designed for a single wire, causing damage necessitating the complete replacement of the overloaded fuse box.
As they consider fuse boxes more hazardous, insurance companies will charge a premium or decline insuring a home. A circuit breaker panel installation will cost between $1,000 to $2,500. This is not a do it yourself project, so consult with an expert licensed electrician.
Electrical Peace of Mind
Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs, including:
- Commercial & Residential Electrical Installations
- Marina & Residential Pier Wiring
- Electrical Service & Repair
- Specialty Electrical Services
For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at 410-266-9040. We will be very glad to help you.