New homeowners and some long-time homeowners have never heard of a fuse box, much less seen one. However, many older homes still contain fuse boxes, so this is a device every homeowner should know. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two devices is of importance when maintaining your home and its electrical system.
Is a Circuit Breaker the Same as a Fuse?
While circuit breakers and fuses perform similar functions, there are differences between the two. Open the electrical panel in the home. Your home has a fuse box if you see a series of plugs that look like the end of a lightbulb. If there are columns of rectangular switches, the home has a circuit breaker panel.
Is a Fuse or Circuit Breaker Better?
Fuse boxes provide 60-amp service, which is not enough for most modern homes. They need 200-amp service to supply power for today’s electronic devices. This is only one of several issues found with fuse boxes today. An electrical fuse box rarely has dedicated circuits, such as those needed for a dishwasher or air conditioner. As a result, fuses frequently blow when you use large appliances. Sadly, a homeowner might not realize the fuse is the reason they continue to have electrical problems.
Prior homeowners may have made accommodations in the fuse box to run large appliances. For instance, they may have used a 30-amp fuse with a 15-amp fuse holder. While this is a temporary fix, it puts the home at more risk of an electrical fire. If you must replace fuses frequently or the fuse panel makes hissing or popping sounds, have the fuse box inspected by an electrician. The same holds when electrical outlets or switches feel warm to the touch. When you cannot run multiple appliances simultaneously, have an electrician inspect the fuse box to determine if it is the problem.
Fuse Box Vs. Circuit Breaker Electrical Panel
Before a person can engage in the fuse box vs circuit breaker debate, they must understand the differences between the two. Fuse panels used to be the norm in American homes, but today builders install a breaker panel. Each switch or fuse operates a circuit in the home. Most people choose to replace a fuse box with a circuit breaker because a circuit breaker box comes with advantages.
With old style fuse box circuit breakers, when a fuse blows, you must replace it. This isn’t the case with circuit breakers. If a breaker trips, simply flip the switch to reset it. Blown fuses remain common in modern households, as the fuses cannot keep up with demand. Insurance companies view fuse boxes as a potential hazard. They may not insure a home if it has a fuse box. The seller might need to invest in a fuse box circuit breaker replacement before putting the home on the market. If the home sells, the buyer might find they have to upgrade the fuse box to a circuit breaker panel before they can get insurance, which mortgage companies require.
Cost to Replace Fuse Box with Breaker Panel
A person might wonder how much it will cost to replace a fuse box with a breaker panel. This is part of the fuse box vs circuit breaker debate. However, the person should consider all costs associated with each option to get a full picture of this cost.
According to Angi.com, replacing a circuit box runs $1,150 on average. Replacing a fuse box, HomeAdvisor reports will cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000. Regardless of which option you select, have an electrical professional handle the installation. However, if you choose a fuse box, ensure the selected electrician has experience with installing or replacing this equipment. Resetting a tripped circuit breaker is as easy as flipping a light switch. Replacing a blown fuse isn’t difficult, but you must have a fuse on hand to complete the repair.
Fuse boxes require less maintenance, but you must purchase fuses. Inspect circuit breaker panels every one to three years. In addition, conduct a routine trip test every three to five years. If you choose to hire an electrician to complete this test, they will charge a service fee. If you have any questions regarding the fuse box or breaker panel in your Columbus, Ohio home, reach out to Safe Electric. Our electricians will answer your questions and help you determine if you need an upgrade. This is one of many electrical services we offer, as we want to be the only provider you need for the electrical system in the home. Reach out today and we’ll get you on the schedule.