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Fuse Box for Dummies

You’re probably familiar with this kind of situation: It’s early in the morning and the house is busy with people scrambling to get ready. The blow dryer is on, the toaster is warming up—when suddenly—the lights go out. You may say to yourself “the fuse must have blown,” but are you aware of what’s really happening? 

The fuse box, or breaker box, can be thought of as the “heart” of your home’s electrical service. That’s because it serves as the bridge between the utility company and your home. All of the electricity in your home first passes through the breaker box. 

Functionally, the fuse box primarily serves safety purposes. When excess electrical current flows, the fuse stops its flow. When operating correctly, it prevents fires and saves lives. 

Most homes come with a fuse box, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your home is completely safe. Fuse boxes should be replaced every 20 years to ensure quality service. You can actually gauge how old your fuse box is with a quick inspection. If you see actual fuses (they look like cylinders or round caps), then your breaker box is at least 50 years old. Breakers that constantly flicker and trip are another sure sign that you need an upgrade. 

The 20-year rule is also only accurate when you’re consistently maintaining the condition of your fuse box. Much like any other electrical appliance, they should be kept in a cool place that’s free of any water or dust. 

If you see any sign of wiring damage or smoke coming from your breaker box, you should call your electrician immediately. Give us a call for any further questions or inquiries about electrical work. 


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