Three Dangerous Habits For Electrical Fuses

If your home uses a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, you need to know how to handle it so that it doesn't become a fire hazard. For example, you need to avoid these three common but dangerous habits:

Overloading A Circuit

Any circuit has a maximum electrical load it can handle; exceeding that load causes the fuse to blow. Remember that an overblown fuse cannot be reset; you have to replace it.

Therefore, you should know the maximum power rating of every circuit and ensure you don't exceed it. To know the maximum power (in watts) a fuse can handle, just take the ampere rating indicated on the fuse and multiply it by 120 volts. For example, for a fuse rated 15 amps, the maximum power is 1,800 watts (15 x 120). Therefore, any appliance with a power rating higher than that shouldn't go into the circuit.

Even without doing the calculations, you shouldn't plug too many things into a single outlet. The more appliances are plugged into an outlet, the higher the chances that the limit may be exceeded. This is especially true for appliances that draw a lot of power, such as iron boxes.

Replacing A Fuse with A Wire

If your fuse blows up, replace it with a fuse, and not any other electrical conductor such as a wire. Some people do this to save time or money (even though fuses are inexpensive). For example, when your fuse blows up at night and you don't have a replacement, you may be tempted to cut a small wire and use it to complete the circuit.

Unfortunately, that is dangerous because often the replacement wire doesn't have the same rating as the fuse. For example, if the wire can handle higher current than the fuse, the circuit may experience current overload and start a fire. On the other end of the scale, if the wire has a lower current capacity than the fuse, it will burn up (and may still cause a fire) when you try to use your normal appliances on the circuit.

Replacing A Fuse with One of a Higher Rating

When replacing a fuse, the replacement should have the exact rating as the damaged one. Don't replace a fuse with one with a higher rating with the hope of preventing it from blowing up. This is because you will only be increasing the capacity of the fuse and not the rest of the circuit. The connecting wires, for example, will still retain their low ratings. Your fuse will be able to handle higher current, but not the wires; this means the fuse will not blow up, but the wires and the rest of the circuit may create a serious fire hazard.

For more information, contact companies like Williams Electric Supply.