Dealing With A Fuse Box

If you've just moved into an old home that has a fuse box, the setup might lok scary at first, but fuses are easy to handle -- as long as you handle them correctly. Fuse boxes can cause problems if not treated well, which is why fuse boxes often have a bad reputation. But if you just keep a few things in mind, you'll do fine with fuses.

Keep Extra Fuses on Hand -- and a Flashlight With Good Batteries

When a fuse is overloaded with electricity, it blows out, but that doesn't mean it explodes. There's a thin wire inside that burns out if there's too much electricity. That's good, in that the fuse won't let excessive electricity through the system. However, that also means you have to replace the fuse. Because fuse blowouts can happen at any time, keep extra fuses on hand instead of assuming you'll be able to go to a home improvement store. The first time a fuse blows in the middle of the night will cure you of that idea. Also keep a flashlight with good batteries at the ready because if that fuse controlled the circuit for the light by the fuse box, you'll need some way to see the box.

Do Not Use Fuses That Exceed the Wire Amp Rating

Each fuse wire is rated for a certain number of amps, just like a circuit breaker switch controls a certain number, too. Always match the fuse with the wire. In other words, a 15-amp wire should have a 15-amp fuse, and nothing larger. Otherwise, you create a fire risk.

Shop Around for Insurance

Getting home insurance with a fuse box can be more difficult. Because fuse boxes are much older -- all new homes now use circuit breakers -- there is a greater risk of a problem just because of the age. You'll want to shop around for insurance to be sure you get the best rate.

Keep the Box Clean

Fuse boxes are sometimes located outside, so more creepy-crawlies and dirt can get in the box. Put the fuse box on your weekly cleaning list and keep it dusted well.

If the fuse box looks really dirty or like it's in bad shape, or if you need more electricity for your home, you may want to convert to a circuit breaker panel. Contact electrical contractors, like those from Dunedin Electric Co., Inc., to arrange for an evaluation and to get a quote for the conversion.