South East Electrical Services

5 Reasons why you should replace ceramic fuses with circuit breakers

Do you know how to change a fuse? Are you changing fuses wire quite often?

If you’re changing fuse wires, chances are you have an older home that still has ceramic fuses. Ceramic fuses are an “old school” form of electrical protection for the home.

The brand Federal is very common. As is the words vintage fuses. You’ll likely see Federal embossed in your ceramic fuses.

What is a ceramic fuse?

Ceramic fuses are the sort of fuses that suspend a wire between two screws, with the wire passing through a ceramic ceramic holder.  You wedge this holder into your home’s switchboard. 

The fuse wire is rated according to the load that circuit is designed for. If it goes over, the fuse wire burns out and the circuit stops working.

Changing fuse wire is an operation often performed in the dark while holding a torch.

How To Replace Fuse Wire

We really think you should be replacing those old ceramic fuses with modern circuit breakers. But that’s no help to you when you’ve just tripped a fuse and need to turn the lights back on. Below is a short description of how to get replace your fuse wire. 

It’s important to know what rating of fuse wire is required. Different fuses in the same fuse box will have different fuse wire ratings. This is mentioned in step 3. I’m pre-empting it here because it really is very important. If you’re unsure, call an electrician. 

From time to time these to fuses can blow and it is useful to know how to replace the fuse
  1. Switch the power off from the appliance being used and unplug it.
  2. Turn off the power switches inside the fuse box.
  3. Use the correct rated fuse wire for the size of the cable in the circuit it protects.
    • The fuse rating is generally stamped on the outside of each fuse holder or marked on the switchboard near the fuse base.
    • Never use an oversize fuse wire as it can cause damage to the electrical installation wiring or start a fire.
  1. Put the correctly rewired fuse into its holder and turn on the main power switch.

 

The video below does a good job of demonstrating how to change a fuse wire in a ceramic fuse.

Reasons To Upgrade Your Switchboard's Ceramic Fuses With Circuit breakers

1. Your switchboard has become unsafe

You can see in this image that one of the ceramic fuses is broken. That is clearly unsafe. If you have broken, cracked or damagef fuses, get them replaced. 

Circuit breakers are safer than ceramic fuses. For instance, a fuse will only blow when it reaches maximum capacity. A circuit breaker is much more sensitive. For instance, it will trip from an earth leak. 

What this means in effect is, if you have ceramic fuses, your switchboard is unsafe. Ceramic fuses should be upgraded. 

2. Your switchboard isn't coping with current demands

adding appliances means your circuit might not cope

If you have fuses, it can be hard to tell if your board isn’t coping. If you’re blowing fuses then that’s a good sign that you’re over-capacity. Chances are, if you have ceramic fuses, the circuitry in your home is out-dated.

You’ve probably added numerous appliances and lights since your wiring was first designed and installed.

If this is you then it’s time to have your switchboard looked at. We’ll upgrade it to circuit breakers and do any other work required to make it safe.

3. You want to add major appliances or pumps

pools pumps draw a lot of electricity

If you’re adding major current draws (like large appliances, pool or irrigation pumps) then you want to make sure that the circuit can cope.

If you’re still got ceramic fuses then that’s already a really good indication that the circuit isn’t ready for it. Have the switchboard inspected by licensed electricians. 

4. You want to improve your electrical safety

electrical safety around the home

Circuit breakers respond faster than fuses. They’re also more sensitive. These can be very important considerations if you’ve come in contact with a live wire.

Circuit breakers also respond to problems that a fuse will not. For instance, on our circuit breaker page, we give the case study of a home with a frayed wire. The fuse did not react to this problem. When we upgraded to a circuit breaker it did. A fuse will never detect a problem like this because it only reacts to an overload.

5. You want the convenience of circuit breakers

If you plug-in your old drill and trip the house circuit, do you want the convenience of flicking a switch? Or do you want to pull an old ceramic fuses, unscrew the wire, only to find you don’t have the correct fuse wire spare? Circuit breakers are loads handier than ceramic fuses.  

resetting circuit breaker

Time To Upgrade

If your house is 25 plus years you probably have the old ceramic fuses with fuse wire in the fuse box. If this is the case,  it is definitely time to upgrade your fuse box to one with circuit breakers that better protect both people and your property.

Modern circuit breakers are combination safety switches and circuit breakers.

Briefly, these protect single circuits from shorts, overloads, and electric shocks. This means any problem is confined to that one circuit and will not take out the circuits for the rest of your house.

Remember only safety switches save lives.

Circuit breakers and surge protectors protect appliances, not people. By installing a modern fuse box you are saving both yourself and your buildings.

 How long does it take to replace a fuse box?

Fuse boxes, like most things to do with old houses, vary from house to house.

Give us a call on 1300 997 621 and we will come and give a you quote.

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