fuse boxes explained purpose, problems & replacement

Fuse Boxes Explained: Purpose, Problems & Replacement

Fuse boxes are a common feature on properties throughout the UK. Despite this, lots of people are unfamiliar with their purpose, potential problems and how to know when replacement is necessary.

To clear things up, we’ve put together a simple guide to your fuse box. Read on to find out everything you need to know about fuse boxes.

The basics of fuse boxes explained

Also known as a fuse board or consumer unit, a mains fuse box is basically the hub of your electrical system. As the electrical voltage enters your property, the fuse box splits it into various circuits. If any of the circuits within your home are overloaded, your fuse box will cut off electricity to them.

With that in mind, the main fuse box purpose is safety. Cutting off electrical flow avoids more serious issues like electrical shorts (or short circuits), shocks or even fire. It also means the whole house won’t have its power cut off when issues occur.

Fuse boxes were a staple feature in properties until the mid-20th century, when circuit breakers began to take over. While fuse boxes are made up of fuses with filaments which melt when there’s an overload, circuit breakers use switches, so there’s no need to replace parts when resetting.

3 fuse box problems

There are three main fuse box problems to be aware of. The first is electrical load. Outdated fuse boxes are not designed for the increased electrical demand of modern homes. As a result, they can become unsafe and inefficient very quickly.

Next, there’s safety. While fuse boxes can be fitted with larger fuses to handle higher loads, doing so usually makes them a fire hazard. Not to mention that electrical regulations and safety standards have come on in leaps and bounds since fuse boxes were installed.

Finally, there’s the convenience. When a fuse trips in your fuse box, it will need to be replaced. That either means a dangerous DIY job (definitely not recommended) or calling in an electrician every time.

Do I need a fuse box replacement?

If your fuse box is continually tripping, it’s probably time for a fuse box replacement. This will be the case for the vast majority of properties that still have a fuse box in place. As you can imagine, it’s much easier to get your fuse box upgraded than continue to have fuses replaced.

Replacement will also be necessary if your fuse box is emitting strange sounds or letting out a suspicious smell. In this case, there’s almost always a problem, which could even lead to a fire, so it’s vital that you get in touch with a qualified electrician.

Need any more fuse box issues explained?

If you have any more questions about the fuse box on your Derby or Nottingham property, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Doctor Electrical. We can inspect your fuse box to check its condition, along with the rest of your electrical installation.

If required, our qualified team can upgrade your fuse box to a modern RCD unit in metal casing to keep your property safe – all in less than a day. Contact us today to talk more.

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duane gilbert

Duane Gilbert

Duane Gilbert is the Managing Director of Doctor Electrical. A problem solver with 'hands-on' experience. He has been in the electrical industry since leaving school and built up a wealth of experience. Connect with Duane on LinkedIn >>

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