In this blog post, our Abbotsford electricians at Premium Electric take a look at a fuse vs circuit breaker. What makes them different and which one is better?
It’s important to keep in mind that depending on the power application, in most cases a fuse and a circuit breaker are not interchangeable. As an example, fuses should never be used on any circuit that requires a GFCI outlet.
What is a Fuse vs Circuit Breaker?
Designed as an over-current safety device, a fuse has a thin piece of metal that will melt and break the circuit if it becomes overheated.
A big difference between a fuse breaker vs circuit breaker is that a fuse can only be used once. If it blows, the fuse will need to be replaced with a new one of the correct amperage. See our FAQ post on Types of Fuses & How They Work.
Most homes that were built prior to 1960 will have a fuse box that houses all the fuses required to control the flow of electricity in the home. Fuse boxes should only be installed by a qualified electrician.
If your home has a fuse box, you should test the main switch annually to make sure it is working properly. You also need to know where your fuse box is located and what size/type of fuses are needed to protect your home. If you blow a fuse, you will need to unplug all electrical devices that are connected to that circuit.
A disadvantage of fuses is that you need to turn off the main power supply before you replace the fuse, which can be challenging in the dark. You must also replace a fuse with the correct amperage. The one advantage that fuses have over a circuit breaker, however, is that fuses are relatively inexpensive.
If you have any questions, please call us at 604-308-6195.
What is a Circuit Breaker?
By contrast, if there is a surge of electricity, the internal automatic switch mechanism of a circuit breaker will trip and shut off the power. Nothing gets burnt out so there’s nothing to replace. Instead, to restore power you can just reset the circuit breaker by flipping the switch back on.
As for fuse vs circuit breaker, acircuit breaker is more advanced and can be used over and over again. While they don’t respond as quickly as fuses, circuit breakers do not have to be replaced. The exception, of course, is replacing older or outdated circuit breakers.
Your main circuit breaker panel will have numerous switches. Some switches are dedicated circuit breakers for specific appliances like your HVAC system or refrigerator. Others, however, will have all the outlets in one part of your house (like the living room or garage) on one circuit.
Because we rely on a host of electrical devices for our day-to-day living, circuit breakers are essential for home safety. We recommend installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI outlets) as well since they react quicker and are designed to prevent electrical shocks at the outlet.
GFCI outlets are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and garages and can be reset with the push of a button.
About Premium Electric
We specialize in both residential and commercial electrical services and help clients throughout the Lower Fraser Valley Regional District.
All our electrical work is warrantied and guaranteed.