Is There a Difference Between Fuse Boxes and Circuit Breakers?

Posted on: 17 October 2016

The electricity that comes into your house doesn't go straight from the outside wire to your appliance. There are several reasons for that. One is that electricity doesn't flow smoothly; it has little surges. Another reason is that any small surge could damage your appliances, could damage your home's wiring, or even could cause your house to catch on fire. That's part of why your electricity goes into a fuse box or circuit breaker before it gets to your appliances. Having a breaker box or fuse box keeps your house and family safe. But what's the difference between the two?

Function

Basically, circuit breakers and fuse boxes work in the same way. If too much electricity goes through the circuit, it gets interrupted. That surge could happen because a surge of electricity comes through the outdoor wire to your house or a frayed wire in your house's electrical system causes a short. For whatever reason, the circuit gets interrupted, cutting off electricity and preventing further damage. The circuit could be interrupted for your whole house or just one particular circuit.

Fuse Box

A fuse box has slots for fuses to go into. Generally, in home fuse boxes, there are round fuses that can be screwed into place. The fuse itself has a thin wire that runs through the fuse. When the fuse is screwed into the socket, the wire closes the circuit and lets it work. That wire is calibrated so that it can carry a certain amount of voltage, and if too much comes across the system, it breaks and breaks the circuit. When a fuse blows, it needs to be replaced with a new fuse. 

Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker, instead of having a replaceable fuse, has a switch. When the switch is in the "on" position, the circuit is closed, and power is flowing. If the breaker is triggered, the switch flips over to the "off" position and breaks the circuit. An open circuit doesn't carry any electricity, so there is no risk of anything happening that could cause any damage. It is really easy to reset a circuit breaker. All you have to do is flip the switch. 

It doesn't matter if you have a circuit breaker or a fuse box. They have the same job: to make sure that the electricity that runs through your house does so smoothly and safely, without damaging your appliances, wiring, or home. 

Talk to a company like JF Electrical Contractors, Inc for help with your home wiring.

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