Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker: What Is the Difference? - Buzz Electrical
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  • Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker: What Is the Difference?


  • Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker: What Is the Difference?

    December 20, 2018

    Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker: What Is the Difference?

    If you are a first time home buyer, or if you haven’t ever looked closely at your electrical panel, you might assume that all panels are pretty much the same. But as our electricians at Buzz Electrical know all too well, this is not the case. While all new homes are built with large amp panels and circuit breakers, many older homes still have fuse boxes instead.

    If you live in an older home or you are thinking about buying one, it is really important to understand the fuse box vs circuit breaker key differences. While circuit breakers are more modern and arguably easier to use, fuse boxes can still do their job effectively too. Here is a beginner’s guide to understanding the differences between fuse boxes and circuit breakers.

    What Is the Purpose of My Fuse Box or Circuit Breaker?

    Fuse Boxes and Circuit Breakers are both designed to do the same job: protect your electrical system from fire hazards. Using too much electricity in one zone of your house at the same time can overload the circuit dedicated to that room or area. Overloaded circuits are dangerous because they can cause electrical problems or even electrical fires. To prevent that from happening, your fuse box or circuit breaker will cut off the power running to an overloaded circuit at the source.

    What Is A Fuse Box?

    A fuse box controls the electrical current running to each of the circuits in your home with a panel of old-school fuses. A fuse is a small glass or ceramic device that screws into a threaded socket like a lightbulb. Inside there is a special fuse wire that can detect how much current flows through it – and into your house.

    When too much electrical current passes through the fuse wire, it melts to protect your circuit from overloading. This melting process is what people mean when they use the phrase “blow a fuse.” If you blow a fuse in your fuse box, you will need to replace it with a new one in order to restore power to your home.

    What Is A Circuit Breaker?

    A circuit breaker functions the same way as a fuse box, but without the added hassle of constantly replacing glass bulbs. When too much electricity flows through the wires in a circuit breaker, it will “trip” and disconnect itself from the power source. Circuit breakers look like a long row of switches. In order to restore power after tripping a circuit breaker, you can flip or toggle the switches instead of having to totally replace them.

    Fuse Box vs Circuit Breaker

    While more modern homes have circuit breakers, don’t worry if yours still has an old school fuse box instead. Fuse boxes still protect your home from circuit overloads and electrical fires.

    The biggest differences between fuse boxes and circuit breakers are the method and materials they use to do this important job. Fuse boxes melt down wires inside replaceable fuses, while circuit breakers simply disconnect wires until you wiggle them back into place.

    Replacement fuses are inexpensive and easy to find, but it is essential to make sure you purchase the right type for your fuse box. Using fuses with the wrong voltage for your box can allow too much electrical current to run through your wiring can cause a fire.

    Should I Replace My Fuse Box with A Circuit Breaker?

    If your home still uses an old school fuse box, it is pretty likely to have other electrical components that need updates. We would recommend re-wiring your older house as a top priority, especially if it contains any copper wiring. Upgrading to an electrical panel with 100-200 amps would also be a good consideration.

    Fuse boxes still function safely and effectively with modern technology, but you may find that you prefer the modern convenience of a circuit breaker. If you would like to replace your fuse box with a circuit breaker, our team at Buzz Electrical can help! Give us a call today to discuss any electrical system upgrades you need.

    Family owned and operated Buzz Electrical is Fayetteville’s leading electrical company! If you need any electrical repairs or electrical upgrades in your Arkansas home, we are here to help. Give us a call at (479) 267-2899.