As we go about our daily business in our homes, our greatest power source, electricity, keeps the essentials running. Although, just like everything in life, sometimes problems occur and repairs are necessary. Understanding fuses versus circuit breakers is helpful for quick fixes and peace of mind.
Why Do We Need Either One?
In our homes, electricity is regulated with a circuit panel, which contains either fuses or circuit breakers. Sometimes an unexpected electrical surge happens and must be stopped before it goes too far. Circuit breakers and fuses are both designed to shut down the power source when such a surge happens, protecting our homes and loved ones.
Let’s discuss the differences between the two.
When a dangerous level of electrical current flows through a fuse, a small wire in the tiny glass container melts from the heat and causes the power to stop flowing. That’s the simple way a fuse protects our homes.
A fuse is inexpensive and easy to install. However, one downside is they can overheat easily if not replaced correctly, which damages the entire circuit.
When using circuit breakers, every wire in your home is connected to a breaker on the panel. Each breaker is attached to a piece of solder. When that solder overheats due to increased voltage, it triggers a small metal spring which shuts the circuit down.
You may have heard someone say they “tripped the circuit.” This is what they mean. When the circuit breaker trips the metal spring, this cuts off the source of power.
Here are some great reasons for choosing breakers:
- They can be reset rather than replaced, like a fuse must be.
- Unlike a fuse, they meet GFCI and ARC fault requirements.
- They’re safer to deal with as a homeowner because there’s no risk of replacing one each time they are tripped (unlike a fuse, which can be dangerous to replace if done improperly).
- An electrician can add, update or replace a circuit breaker. However, they are not permitted to “add” new fuses. They are only allowed to maintain the equipment.
In conclusion, understanding fuses versus circuit breakers is helpful, but please always seek the assistance of your licensed residential electrician for all of your electrical needs.
If you have questions about whether or not you have fuses or circuit breakers, please contact C&S Electric of Louisburg LLC, and we’ll happily answer your electrical questions.