How Does a Fuse Panel Work?

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Fuse Panel Basics

  • A fuse box is a metal type box that consists of fuses that regulate and control electrical currents throughout a home or building structure. It is vital that homeowners know where their fuse panel box or circuit breaker box is located within their home. Some fuse panel or circuit breaker boxes are located outside of the home, such as within the garage area. It is also important to determine whether the panel box is a fuse box or circuit panel box. This can be easily accomplished by looking inside the panel box. If there is a round, glass shape or miniature tube with metal ends, these are called fuses. If there are switches that can be flipped up or down, you have a circuit breaker box.

Function

  • With fuse panel boxes, it is always a good idea to buy extra fuses in case your electricity goes out. Fuses have various amounts of amperage. Amperage is the quantity of electrical current used to operate various lights, outlets or appliances. Therefore, it's wise to purchase, as a minimum, one of each for emergency outages. It is also a good idea to have a working flashlight handy for such emergencies. Fuses are generally color coded. This is for ease in reference. Fifteen amps may be color-coded red, for example. In addition, depending on the appliance, there may be a need for slower burning types of fuses. These are generally marked with a letter D or P. However, if it is hard for you to read the amperage numbers or if the fuses are not color coded, you may want to determine what fuse is for what room and what the various amperage requirements are and label and write down the amperage requirements to the side of each fuse. You may also label the rooms that each circuit operates on the inside of the panel door by using a black felt marker. If you don't know what to do, you should get someone who is knowledgeable about fuse panel boxes to assist you.

Replacing Fuses

  • When a fuse blows it is generally because the circuit is overloaded. Therefore, the primary thing that you should do is unplug every electrical device or appliance plugged into the circuit. It is also very important to make sure that you turn the switch to the "off" position for the main breaker located inside of the panel box. Precautions should be taken when operating a fuse box. One should wear gloves and rubber-soled shoes and remove jewelry. In addition, if a ladder is needed to get to the fuse box panel, the ladder should be made of fiberglass or a non-conductive wood. You can know what fuse has blown by looking inside of the round tube. If the metal line is broken inside or if the glass-like bulb is cloudy and unclear, then the fuse has blown. After you have taken all of the precautions, carefully unscrew the blown fuses and replace them with new ones that have the appropriate amperage requirements. Some fuses require to be removed by pulling them up and out from the clips that hold them. These are called cartridge fuses. It is important to screw the fuses in tightly and to remember to replace fuses only with new ones that have the same amperage. Once the new fuse is installed, the main power can be turned back on. Make sure that the fuse does not blow out again. If this happens, it may be a good idea to consult with an expert electrician to further assist you with your problem. If everything is O.K., you can begin re-plugging in your electrical devices and appliances. If the fuse blows as you're re-plugging them in, you may have too many appliances on one circuit or one of the appliances may be causing the blow out.

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