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How to repair a fuse in a fuse box

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Today many homes are equipped with modern fuse boxes that can be repaired with just a flick of a switch. However, some properties still have the older type, requiring a little more work. Wondering how to change a fuse in your traditional fuse box? Luckily, it's not as complicated as you might think!

Have a read through our article to understand the purpose of fuses and the reasons why they blow. Once you’re clued up, work your way through the 5 simple steps below and you’ll have your blown fuse repaired in no time.

What is the purpose of an electric fuse?

A fuse is an important safety component that is used in the electric circuits found in your fuse box. It is designed to automatically turn off the power to a circuit when problems occur, to prevent further damage. Fuses are made of metal filaments, which burn through when they blow. Each time a fuse blows, it will need to be replaced with a new one.

What causes a fuse to blow?

Although changing a fuse is relatively easy, it’s not something you want to do all the time. This is why it’s important to understand the common causes of a blown fuse. Take action to prevent these things from happening and you’ll only have to consider fuse box replacement once in a blue moon!

Overloaded circuit

The most common reason for blowing a fuse is an overloaded circuit. This means that a circuit has attempted to carry a bigger electrical load that it is capable of. For example, if you’ve turned on too many lights in your home at the same time, the light fuse may blow in your electric fuse box. If too many appliances are operating at the same time, it could blow your main fuse. The fuse size is matched to the load capacity of the circuit. If the electrical current increases, the fuse will break the circuit and prevent the wires from heating to a dangerous level. As we said before, it’s quite an important little thing!

Extensions leads are notorious for overloading electrical circuits. Try to avoid using all of the sockets wherever possible, as your extension lead will quickly heat up. If it gets too hot, your fuse is bound to blow.

If your fuse box fuses are blowing regularly, it’s a sign that you’re demanding too much of the circuit. You may need to consider moving some of your electrical appliances to other circuits. Alternatively, you could opt for a service upgrade to increase the number of circuits in your home. You’ll need to hire a qualified electrician to do this for you.

Faulty electrical appliances

If one of your appliances has faulty wiring or a loose connection, it may cause the fuse in your fuse box to blow. Unfortunately, if you’ve got a lot of appliances plugged in, it may be difficult to tell which is the problem. You could end up having to change the fuse and play a game of chance, plugging each one in at a time to see if it blows the new fuse. Faulty appliances can be dangerous, so we recommend seeking the help of an experienced electrician.

Short circuit

A short circuit occurs when wires or components carrying an electrical current, unintentionally touch. It creates a path of less resistance and can even accidentally divert the current. They can be caused by several factors including faulty insulation, loose connections and household pests chewing on wires.

Short circuits can be particularly dangerous and will, therefore, cause fuses to blow. Like when dealing with faulty electrical appliances, it’s best to leave the repair work to an expert. You need to be 100% sure of what you’re doing.

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How to change a fuse in 5 simple steps

If you want to have a go at changing a fuse in a traditional fuse box, you will need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Fuse wire
  • Wire cutters

Step 1: Turn off all appliances
Before you attempt to repair a fuse, it’s a good idea to turn off all the electrical appliances in your home, including your lights and boiler. If you don’t, your new fuse may blow as soon as the electric is back on.

Step 2: Make sure your fuse box is off
Your fuse box should automatically switch to ‘off’ when a fuse blows.

Step 3: Inspect the fuse carriers
Next, remove the fuse carriers one by one to determine which fuse has blown. It should be fairly easy to tell as the fuse will be physically broken or burnt through.

Step 4: Replacing the fuse wire
Use your screwdriver to loosen the screws in the carrier and remove the broken fuse wire. You will need to replace it with fuse wire of the same amperage. Any higher and the fuse won’t be able to do its job. This could result in an electrical fire.

Thread the new fuse wire through the central part of the fuse (where you will have removed the old wire from.) Wrap the wire around the first screw in a clockwise direction and then the second, before tightening the screws. It’s okay if the wire is a little slack when you’re wrapping it, as it’ll tighten with the screws. If there’s any excess wire, simply snip it off with your wire cutters.

Step 5: Re-insert the fuse carrier
Next, insert the carrier with the newly fitted fuse wire back into your box. You can then turn on the master switch. Fingers crossed your circuit should now be repaired. If it blows again, it’s likely something is shorting or you have a faulty electrical appliance.

What to do if you have a modern fuse box

Modern fuse boxes are called circuit breakers and they’re far more straightforward to use. They contain lots of mini trip switches and when there’s a fault, the switch for the affected circuit will simply move to a different position or pop out. All you’ll need to do to fix it is unplug your appliances, turn the trip switch back on and check the circuit is working again.

Rather leave it to the experts?

If you’re not confident in changing an electric fuse yourself or are concerned about faulty wiring, it’s best to get in touch with a qualified electrician. They will be able to carry out the repairs on your behalf and ensure everything is safe.

You’ll greatly benefit from taking out comprehensive home cover. Hometree offers home cover you can trust, with quick and convenient call-outs and a 24/7 UK helpline. What’s more, we don’t put caps on claims and if you don’t claim, your price will always stay the same!

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