Does Your Home Still Have a Fuse Box?
If you do, it might be time for a change. Even though it is outdated technology, a properly functional fuse box can be as safe as a circuit breaker panel. The electrical system of many older homes may still use fuses, but all new homes have circuit breakers installed.
When 21 amps of electricity passes through a 20-amp rated fuse, a thin wire melts down and opens the circuit, terminating power before damage occurs. Similarly, circuit breakers protect circuits from being damaged by an overcurrent, short circuit or overload by cutting electricity after its relays find a fault. Both fuses and circuits breakers help protect homes against electrical fires. The big difference is a blown fuse has to be replaced, while circuit breakers can be reset.
Modern Electricity Usage
Aside from reusability, circuit breakers have several advantages over fuse boxes. Fuses came into use when electrical demand was lower. Years ago most homes did not have air conditioning, and a fuse box rated for 60 amps was sufficient. Today’s modern home is quite different. Aside from appliances, we now have flat-screen televisions, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. All need power, and 200-amp circuit breakers are the current norm.
Danger From Overloading
Most fuse boxes in existence today can’t handle today’s modern electrical demands, which leads to the unsafe practice of replacing old blown fuses with new fuses rated at higher amperage. Unfortunately, the old wiring can’t handle the increased current, which damages the insulation and might cause a fire. Double tapping is the dangerous practice of connecting multiple wires to one fuse lug designed for a single wire, causing damage that will require completely replacing the overloaded fuse box.
As fuse boxes are considered more hazardous in general, insurance companies will charge a premium or refuse to insure a home. A circuit breaker panel installation will cost from $1,000 to $2,500. This is not a do-it-yourself project, so always work with a licensed electrician.
Electrical Services You Can Trust
Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.