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How to Diagnose a Blown Fuse and What to Do About It

How to Diagnose a Blown Fuse and What to Do About It

Older homes often have a lot of character. They also tend to have dated systems and appliances that get increasingly harder to maintain. For example, many older homes in greater Atlanta still have fused electrical service rather than circuit breakers - and a blown fuse provides a slightly more adventurous experience than simply flipping the switch on a breaker panel. Fortunately, with a little education, you can fix a fuse with little fuss.

Diagnosing a Blown Fuse

Fuses protect the specific circuits in your house; each one is usually designated to a room or a particular major appliance, such as a dryer. Diagnosing a fuse that has blown can be as simple as noticing that the lights have gone off just in one area of your house, or that an appliance will suddenly not power on. A little preparation can make replacing a blown fuse a much simpler task. Keep spare fuses (make sure they’re the correct amperage), along with a flashlight and a pair of leather work gloves, in a location near the fuse box.

Replacing a Blown Fuse

When a fuse blows, unplug all the cords in the overloaded circuit. Locate the fuse box, put on your leather gloves and turn off the main electric breaker inside the box. To confirm that a blown fuse is your problem, take a look inside your fuse box and look through the small glass panels on the backs of the fuses. If you see a broken wire, or the glass is cloudy, the fuse is probably blown and will need to be replaced.

Carefully remove the blown fuse and replace it with a fuse of the same amperage. Then switch on the breaker, plug in the appliances back in and check to make sure that the fuse doesn’t just blow out again. If it does, you may have a bigger electrical problem on your hands.

A fused electrical service is usually a sign that your house isn’t wired to handle today’s high-load electrical appliances. If fuses are blowing in your house with any frequency, call a professional electrician, at Casteel and have your electrical service checked out. While many of your old house’s quirks are charming, it may be time to upgrade to circuit breakers.

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