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Circuit Breakers vs. Fuses: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Differences

Circuit Breakers vs. Fuses: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Differences

Whether you’re building a home or are reevaluating your electrical system, an important thing you need to consider is the advantages and disadvantages of using circuit breakers vs. fuses. Both options can be found in homes throughout the United States. Take a couple of minutes to find out which one would better suit your home.

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Comparing Breakers Vs. Fuses

Both circuit breakers and fuses serve a similar purpose in your home—preventing dangerous electrical overloads. However, they differ in the way they protect your home from electrical disasters. Circuit breakers will flip and “break” the circuit before it is overloaded. Fuses have a filament that melts to prevent electrical currents from continuing to flow.


Homeowners on a budget may want to consider installing fuses. They are cheaper to install and are more easily replaced. However, you must ensure the fuses you are installing fit the needs of your home. Fuses that are too large will allow electricity to flow to potentially dangerous levels. On the other hand, fuses that are too small will need to be replaced more frequently.

Circuit Breakers

If you are comparing the differences between fuses and circuit breakers, it is important that you are aware that the total upfront cost of circuit breakers is higher. Unlike fuses, circuit breakers do not need to be frequently replaced because they are designed to flip when overloaded. You can even upgrade your outdated circuit breaker to a modern one.

Circuit Breakers vs. Fuses: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Differences

Different Types Of Circuit Breakers

Single-Pole Circuit Breakers

Single-pole circuit breakers are designed to monitor the electrical current of a single wire and trip in the event of an overload. They are also the most common circuit breakers found in homes. Single-pole circuit breakers can safely handle up to 30 amps and deliver 120 volts to the circuit.

Double-Pole Circuit Breakers

Just as you would expect from the name, double-pole circuit breakers can simultaneously monitor the electrical currents through two wires. If one or two wires are short or overloaded, the breaker will trip. This kind of circuit breaker can deliver up to 240 volts to a single electrical circuit while handling up to 200 amps. Double-pole breakers are ideal for heavy energy-consuming appliances like washers and dryers.

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GFCI Circuit Breakers

Dangerous electrical paths may occur between ground elements and a current. GFCI circuit breakers protect against this. They also help prevent current overloads and shorts. Some electrical codes may require you to install these in areas of your home where it may become wet.

AFCI Circuit Breakers

If an AFCI circuit breaker detects arcing in your electrical wiring, it immediately trips, helping you avoid a potential disaster. Single and double-pole circuit breakers may not detect electrical arcs since they only trip due to excessive heat. Many newer homes are required to install AFCI circuit breakers.

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Electrical Panel Upgrade & Installation Services

If you need help upgrading the electrical system in your house, give our team of skilled electricians a call at (770) 852-8504 to schedule an appointment. Our team will help you compare the differences between fuses and circuit breakers and will work with you to improve the safety of your home.

Our team of local electricians in Athens, GA and other areas offer exceptional electrical panel replacement services for homes. In addition, our technicians offer other types of electrical services such as whole-house generator installation, ceiling fan replacement, lighting installation, and electrical wiring replacement. Book an appointment with our team to receive help with an outdated electrical system in your house.