“Now where did I put the extra fuses?” If you have an older home, you likely have a fuse box rather than a circuit breaker panel monitoring electrical overloads in your house. But there are issues other than your home’s age to prompt switching from fuses to circuit breakers this year. Here are some of the reasons homeowners choose to upgrade from fuses to circuit breakers.
Wires inside fuses melt and cut off electrical flow when overloads occur. When a fuse blows, you need to replace it with a new one to safely restore power. Unless you keep several spare fuses at home, you will need to run to the hardware store to buy a replacement. Circuit breakers, on the other hand, contain a magnetic or bi-metal strip that breaks the flow of electricity in the face of an overload. To restore power, you merely need to reset a switch.
While the properly-sized fuse does the job of protecting your home, a fuse that exceeds the right size amp can increase your risk for an electrical fire. Because breakers use switches and do not need to be replaced, this danger is eliminated.
As noted above, simply using larger capacity fuses to accommodate the modern households’ increased power usage creates additional hazards. The electrician who helps you remodel your kitchen will often recommend using separate circuits for all the appliances, outlets and lights. Larger appliances likely will use 220v circuits. A 60-amp fuse box limited to six spaces for the entire house will benefit from an upgrade to a circuit breaker panel.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets break the circuit when they sense an imbalance between current coming in and going out of the outlet. GFCIs work with circuit breaker panels to prevent electrocution, a feature not available with fuse boxes.
Are you planning to sell your house? Consider the value you will add to your home by removing and replacing it with a circuit breaker panel.
Upgrading to a circuit breaker panel is not a DIY project. Ask a licensed electricians to inspect your electrical needs and give you a professional’s cost estimate of replacing your fuse box with a breaker panel built for your household’s needs.