There is little that is more frustrating than searching for a fuse box with a flashlight over and over again because of a fuse holder that has lived its life and needs replacing. Replacing Edison-style screw-in fuse sockets is much too simple a project to put up with the hassle of a bad circuit. As with any electrical repair, safety first. If you cannot determine clearly where the main disconnect is, have the power company temporarily disconnect the service until the repair is complete.
Things You'll Need
Inspect the box to determine what size fuse holder you need. Take a fuse with you for comparison when selecting your part. Get one more replacement socket than you need — since the panel is having problems in one socket, more issues are likely to crop up.
Locate the main power disconnect. This is typically a large switch located on the side of a box connected to your fuse panel with a thick cable. Pull this lever to the off position, usually down, and twist a wire through the padlock holes to prevent it being turned back on until the problem has been corrected.
Open the fuse box and locate the offending fuse or fuses. Twist them counterclockwise to remove them from the socket. Use a pair of pliers, if needed; popped fuses can melt into the socket. Inspect the socket, which is very similar to a lamp or light socket and locate the single standard screw in the very bottom.
Use a standard screwdriver to turn the screw counterclockwise. Use the correct size screwdriver to prevent stripping the screw head. Remove the screw and pull the socket out of the fuse box as far as possible. Examine the socket back for signs of burning or rust. If the rust appears old, proceed with the repair. If the socket has bright, dark red rust, inspect for roof or plumbing leaks to prevent future problems. Contact an electrician if the socket is burnt as this is a sign of a potentially dangerous short.
Remove the wires from the back of the socket with the screwdriver. Wrap the wires around the contact screws on the back of the new socket. Tighten the screws with the standard screwdriver to hold the wires in place and tuck the socket into the hole in the panel. Align the socket so that the mounting screw threads easily into the hole behind. Tighten the screw with the standard screwdriver, taking care not to over-tighten, as this can damage the socket or strip the screw.
Replace the fuse and reconnect the power. Test the circuit to ensure the problem has been fixed. Contact an electrician immediately if the problem persists.