Should You Replace Your Fuse Box With A Circuit Breaker Panel?

Posted on: 22 January 2019

Fuse boxes or fuse panels are common in older homes, especially if no major renovations or repairs have been done. The purpose of the fuse panel is to direct the electricity that is supplied to your home to individual circuits throughout the house. Additionally, the fuses themselves protect your home and your appliances from damage that can be caused by fault conditions such as overloads.

Many people eventually choose to replace this vital part of their home with a more modern circuit breaker panel. If you are considering contracting an electrician to undertake this job, read on to learn a little bit more about the benefits.

How do Fuses and Circuit Breakers Work?

Regardless of whether you have a panel of fuses or a panel of circuit breakers, the basic function is the same. Each fuse or breaker directs an appropriate amount of electricity to one of your home's circuits, and each circuit may include multiple power receptacles, light fixtures, etc. In the event of a fault, the fuse will blow or the breaker will trip, immediately cutting power to that circuit and preventing further damage. Fuses are one-time devices which must be replaced when blown, while breakers can be reset after tripping.

Are Fuses Unsafe?

No, although this is a common myth. If your fuse box is operating normally, then it is perfectly safe. Fuses can be less convenient than breakers, but they are no less safe.

Why Should You Upgrade?

Although your old fuses are likely perfectly safe, there are still many reasons to consider upgrading to circuit breakers. The first, and probably most common, is simply that an upgrade is unlikely to cost significantly more than a repair. If you are having problems with your fuse panel or find that fuses are routinely blowing, then it is likely that you already have issues which need to be addressed. In this case, the marginal cost of an upgrade versus a straight replacement will almost always be worth it.

Upgrading to a breaker box can also be a good upgrade to your home's overall electrical system. For older electrical installations, it was common to have a relatively small number of total circuits. This can lead to fuses blowing more often than they should or, even worse, unsafe conditions where a single circuit is expected to carry far too much load. Additional circuits can be added to the fuse box, but this is generally not a cheap job and it can increase the cost of upgrading to a breaker box later on. If your home has too few circuits, the best time to address that issue is while upgrading your fuse box to a breaker box.

Finally, the convenience of a circuit breakers should not be understated. Although convenience is not a good enough justification on its own for a costly upgrade to an otherwise functioning fuse box, it does add some extra incentive if your aging panel is already in need of replacement. 

Contact a company like Dunedin Electric Co., Inc. to learn more.