What Happens When a Fuse Blows?

If you have an older home, you probably have a fuse box. Depending on your electrical usage, your fuses may blow out from time to time. Fuses perform largely the same function as a circuit breaker, but instead of tripping the breaker, the fuse will blow out. Here’s what happens when a fuse blows in Raleigh, NC, and how to avoid the problem.

Why do fuses blow out?

Fuses are either 120- or 240-volt circuits, which handle different levels of electrical load. The main reason a fuse blows in Raleigh, NC is that there are too many electrical appliances plugged into one circuit. The increased demand for electricity melts the metal ribbon inside the fuse, which causes all the appliances on the circuit to shut off or go dead.

If your fuse blows out, you might notice that there’s a glass window. If the glass looks cloudy or you can see a melted metal ribbon through the glass, that means it’s time to change the fuse. You’ll also need to unplug the appliances and move some of them to a different circuit or area of the home.

Fuses can also blow out when they short circuit. This happens when a hot wire touches the grounding pathway or a neutral wire. Sometimes this is due to a wiring problem within the appliance, while other times there might be loose or damaged wire connections. The metal ribbon will melt here, too, which makes it look like a normal blown-out fuse. However, because of the internal problems within the circuit or the appliance, replacing the fuse alone won’t work—you’ll need to get the mis-wired appliance or internal wiring issues resolved.

The best way to check for a short circuit is to unplug everything on the circuit, replace the fuse and plug in the appliances one at a time. The fuse should hold unless you plug in a mis-wired appliance. If it doesn’t hold before you start plugging things in, you’ll need to call an electrician. The problem is likely a wiring issue within your home, and it requires professional help.

Inspect your electrical appliances carefully

To avoid blown-out fuses and short circuits, inspect all of your electrical appliances very carefully. If you see cracks in the cords, loose wiring or exposed wires, discontinue use immediately.

As always, it’s crucial that you avoid overloading sockets with multiple power strips or extension cords. Overloading your electrical sockets increases the possibility of blown fuses, sparks and electrical fire.

If your home’s wiring hasn’t been updated in the last few decades, it might be time to call a professional electrician. A skilled electrician can inspect your wiring and help you determine whether you need to upgrade your wiring or simply identify better places to plug in your electronics. Remember, the computers and appliances today require a lot more electricity than items in the 1970s and earlier.

For skilled electricians who can help when a fuse blows in your Raleigh, NC home, call Box Electric Company today.