After a fuse has blown in your home, it’s simple enough to go to a hardware store in Marshfield, MA and purchase a new one. Do you actually know what types of fuses you should use in your home, though? Don’t worry. In this post we will explain what fuses are, how they work, and the factors that you should take into consideration when selecting the right fuses for your home.
Fuses are used to protect your home’s electrical system against excessive current flows and temperature increases. In recent decades, fuse boxes have been replaced by circuit breakers and electrical panels. However, if you live in an older home in Marshfield, you may have a fuse box that still works and is still up to code.
What Is a Fuse?
Fuses are components that protect electrical circuits. If the circuit is under an abnormally high current load, the fuse opens the circuit. When you go to the hardware store, you will see that fuses are sold in different shapes and sizes. Each fuse is designed to protect a circuit that has a predetermined electrical parameter. These parameters include the operating current, the operating voltage, and the speed of the fuse, which is also referred to as the fuse element melting time.
A fuse has a metal element inside of it that has been designed to carry a set amount of electrical current. If there is an overload or a short circuit, the excessive current generated heats up the metal element inside the fuse, causing the metal element to melt. This creates a space in the fuse element that breaks the current or blows the fuse. Once a fuse has been blown, it is no longer functional and must be replaced.
If you install the wrong fuse, it can damage your home’s electrical network and any equipment that is connected to outlets. Or you could blow fuses even though there is not an electrical fault. Therefore, it is important to replace a blown fuse with either the exact the same type of fuse or an equivalent.
What Is a Fuse Box?
A fuse box is a style of electrical service panel. It is the brains of your home’s electrical system. These are primarily seen in homes built before 1960. Homes built after 1960 typically have an electrical panel that uses circuit breakers. There are advantages to replacing an older fuse box with a modern electrical service panel. Our technicians at Crowe Electric can help you determine if it is beneficial for you to make this upgrade.
A fuse box has several threaded sockets. You can screw in your fuses like you screw in a lightbulb. There is a fuse for each circuit in your home. To provide adequate protection, each fuse should be of the right type and the right amperage rating for the circuit it is protecting. If you use the wrong type of fuse, you are at serious risk of a fire hazard. Therefore, it is imperative that you identify the right fuse for each circuit. Let’s look at some of the fuse options that are available.
Screw-In Fuse Bases
Fuses that are used in standard circuits are plugged fuses. Like a lightbulb, they have a screw-in base. Type T fuses, known as Edison base, and type S fuses, known as rejection base, are the two most common types of screw-in fuses.
A type T fuse looks a lot like a lightbulb and screws into the sockets of old fuse boxes. Conversely, the type S fuse requires an adapter base to work with Edison type sockets. Type S fuses are designed to be tamperproof. They help homeowners not accidentally use the wrong fuse for their circuits.
A type S fuse has an adapter base with a unique size and thread so you don’t mismatch the fuses. In other words, the size and thread of the base prevent you from putting a 15-amp fuse in a 20-amp circuit. However, a type T fuse will work with any Edison socket irrespective of the amperage of the circuit. If your home has an old fuse box that uses Edison sockets, talk to the technicians at Crowe Electric about making the switch to socket adapters that use S fuses. This can make your panel a lot safer.
Type TL and SL Fuses
These are time-delay fuses that are currently the most popular plugged fuses used in residential electrical systems. The difference between these two fuses is that an SL fuse uses the rejection base, whereas the TL fuse uses the Edison base.
Both fuses have a heat-absorbing solder that sits in the center of the fuse element. The time delay lets the circuit absorb a temporary overload that is caused by a quick surge in power. For example, when you start up a motor, such as your garbage disposal, there is an immediate demand for energy. The time delay feature of the TL fuse and SL fuse prevents them from blowing every time these motors are activated.
Type W Fuses
These older fuses used in Edison bases are obsolete. They are a general-purpose fuse that is fast-acting and lacks the time delay of the TL fuse and SL fuse. The circuit breaks as soon as the acceptable amperage for the fuse is exceeded.
Type W fuses should not be used on a circuit that powers a motor of any size. As soon as the motor starts, the initial spike in power will blow the fuse.
Heavy-Duty Type T and Type S Fuses
If you have circuits that have high motor loads or that provide power to motors that frequently cycle, you will want a heavy-duty type T or S fuse. These fuses have the same bases as the SL and ST fuses. The only difference is that the heavy-duty fuse has a spring-loaded metal fuse that is connected to a solder plug. If the circuit is overloaded for too long, the solder plug will melt. The spring releases the fuse link. This breaks the circuit, cutting power to the unit.
How Do You Know What Fuse You Need?
If you need to replace original fuses, you want to look for the exact same fuse or an equivalent unit that is produced by another manufacturer. Your best bet is to bring the original fuse with you to the hardware store and make sure that the product you purchase identically matches the one you removed from the fuse box.
If you do not have the original fuse with you, you will need to factor in things like element speed, nominal current, voltage, ambient temperature, and more. We recommend that you consult electrical technicians if you have any questions about what fuse is right for your home.
Working With a Trusted Electrician in Marshfield
At Crowe Electric, we have been and continue to be committed to providing exceptional commercial and residential electrical services. We have a certified master electrician and a team of electrical experts who provide the highest quality in workmanship on all projects.
Whether you need recessed lighting, generators, basic electrical repair, or emergency services, our team stands ready to provide you with the assistance you need. There is no project that is too big or too small for us to tackle. Contact Crowe Electric today. We look forward to helping you get the electrical service you need.