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Fuses And Circuit Breakers - Knowledge = Safety

Written by: Max Hager | June 24, 2009 6:31 AM in Other | 3849 views | Tags: fuses , breakers , safety , code , electric , panel , electrician , licensed , residential , New England , overload , hazard

     The electricity in your home or business is controlled through a main panel with wires directly terminated on a fuse or circuit breaker. Both are ways of protecting against sudden large overloads on your system. These overloads can cause damage to electrical equipment with the potential of causing a fire. Since not having the proper protection can lead to a dangerous situation we at Caron Electric recommend you get a licensed/qualified electrician to do a system check up at least once a year. With a “fused” system when a potential problem is sensed the fuse will blow or pop shutting down the power to that area of the home. Almost all fuses have to be replaced after being blown once. Circuit breakers on the other hand will trip from the on to off position when a problem is sensed and at times can be re-used once the problem has been rectified.

Here are a few tips to assuring your home or business is properly protected:

1) Regardless of if you have fuses or circuit breakers there are instances where the person working on the main panel did not size the wire or fuse/breaker properly. An oversized fuse/breaker will not trip properly even when there is an overload or problem on the line. Assure you have properly sized fuses/breakers and wires by contacting a licensed/qualified electrician to evaluate.

2) Being in New England we can have some pretty harsh weather conditions. Fuses and breakers can both be compromised when there is moisture getting into the panel. Corrosion on the connections is normally visible in that situation and it’s highly recommended to get a licensed/qualified electrician to your home to resolve where the moisture is entering and replacing any fuses/breakers or even the main panel if it is required.

3) Only one set of wires should be terminated to each breaker. Additional wires being terminated on one breaker or fuse could result in an overload condition. Again calling in a licensed electrician to evaluate is the best option.

4) Always make sure you have a panel cover on your fuse or breaker system. Breakers and fuses should always be protected by the main panel cover and if left open access increases the chance of a problem occurring.

5) Circuit breakers are at this time considered the norm for residential and commercial buildings. It is highly recommended to upgrade your older fuse system to a new circuit breaker system to assure proper protection. Changing from a current fuses system to new circuit breakers to your home or business is also considered a big selling point when trying to market the property.

A common example of what a fuse looks like:

A common example of what a circuit breaker looks like:

     The question does come up a lot with my customers as to what to do when they find a fuse or circuit has blown or tripped. As there are many different things that can cause this I always suggest you get a licensed/qualified electrician to the home or business to diagnose the reason for the blown fuse or tripped breaker. By just replacing the blown fuse or resetting the tripped breaker you have not cleared why the problem happened to start with. Things that can cause the fuse to blow or circuit to trip are faulty connections, a light fixture or device that has gone bad, or an overload on the line itself. Never try to work on live wires and always call a licensed/qualified electrician to assure the problem has been fixed properly prior to replacing the fuse or circuit.

Caron Electric is proud to provide consumers with knowledge that can use; I hope you have found this article helpful and informative.

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