- Always wear protective clothing
- Switch off the main power first
- Remove the blown fuse
- Replace the fuse with one that fits the same specifications
- If the fuse keeps blowing, always consult an electrician as it could be an indication of a bigger problem
When the electricity cuts out at home, it can make everything you're doing, from cooking to relaxing in front of the TV, grind to a halt. Power cuts are beyond your control, but a blown fuse is something you can often fix yourself. Read on to discover how a fuse works, how to tell if a fuse has blown and find useful tips for changing a fuse if it happens to be blown.
How does a fuse work?
How does a fuse work, you ask? A fuse is a thin piece of wire. Its purpose is to carry an electrical current, limited to low voltage. If a higher current passes through the wire, it heats up. This will ultimately cause it to burn or melt; this breaks the circuit and stops the electrical current from flowing. This is also known as a blown fuse. Whilst it may seem a little frustrating when it happens, it’s important to remember this is a measure designed for your safety!
How to tell if a fuse has blown
You’re reading in bed, and suddenly your bedroom lights are out. How do you know if a fuse has blown? A blown fuse will generally result in a localised power outage. For example, one room, light switches, or electrical plugs. In contrast, a power cut will affect the entire house, and everything run by electricity will stop working.
Never underestimate the dangers of electricity! Always make sure the main power is switched off and wear protective clothing in order to prevent any accidents from happening.
Safety precautions before changing a fuse:
- Always make sure your hands are dry before touching the electrical panel.
- Remove any jewellery.
- Wear gloves and rubber-soled shoes.
- Wear safety glasses.
- Always ask for help if you’re worried about any aspect of changing a fuse.
How to fix a blown fuse
When you're all prepared and ready, here's how to fix a blown fuse:
- Start by turning everything off in the affected area. This includes any lights and appliances. This will prevent you from overloading the new fuse when you replace it.
- Locate your electrical panel. These might be in your garage, loft, basement, utility room or hallways.
- Electrical panels will be made up of either fuses (these are round and screw into sockets) or circuit breakers (these look like switches). It’s a good idea to have these labelled to show what area each one controls. This will also make it easier to identify the blown fuse.
- Disconnect the power supply to your fuse box by turning off the main power switch.
- Check the labels on your electrical panel to locate the one which corresponds to the power outage in your home.
- A blown fuse will be discoloured and cloudy, and likely a melted or broken metal piece on the inside.
- Unscrew the blown fuse to remove it.
- Make sure your replacement fuse has the same specifications. It’s worth buying a few replacements at a time, as you never know when you’ll need them! Check the size, type, rating and amperage. It's very important that the amperage of the new fuse is the same as the old one, as using a higher amperage can be dangerous and cause serious damage to the electrical wiring.
- Screw the new fuse in.
- Turn the power back on.
- One by one, turn on the appliances and lights in the area which is controlled by your replacement fuse.
If you find the fuse has blown again, it is likely due to it being overloaded. It is wise to call an electrician who will be able to help you identify if there is a problem with a particular appliance or you have higher electrical needs.
What to do if a fuse keeps blowing
If a fuse keeps blowing it could be a sign of a bigger problem and in this case, it’s important to call a professional electrician to inspect your home because:
- Electrical wiring problems are dangerous. They can cause both fire and electrocution hazards, so must be rectified as quickly as possible.
- If your home is over 50 years old and your wiring hasn’t been updated, it could be inadequate for today’s appliances. An electrician will be able to check your wiring and ensure it is safe.
Now, you not only know how a fuse works, you also have an easy-to-follow guide on changing a fuse. If you are also looking for help with changing a light bulb, or if you need some cable management ideas, and information on how to recycle light bulbs, you don’t need to go anywhere else. Keep on reading more right here on Cleanipedia!