A fuse box is a type of electrical box that uses fuses instead of circuit breakers.
What is it?
The fuse box is the most important part of your electrical system. Power enters the house through your fuse box, gets divided into separate circuits, and sent to your various electrical devices.
One major thing to know about fuse boxes is that they haven’t been code for decades. That means you can’t make any major improvements to your home without upgrading to a breaker box. Additionally, this means your most dangerous electrical device has not been serviced in a very long time.
What do I do with it?
Firstly, I’d recommend upgrading to a new breaker box. However, I recognize that’s not everyone’s situation.
You’ll for sure need to know how to use your electrical box, no matter what type you have. A fuse box looks a lot like a box of chocolates. However, instead of tasty treats, you have fuses.
Unfortunately, fuses are also getting harder to buy since this type of electrical box hasn’t been code in so long.
If you blow a fuse, you have to replace that fuse before you’ll have power in that part of your house again. For example, if you blow the fuse that covers your microwave, you need to replace the fuse with the proper replacement fuse before your microwave will have power again.
Additionally, when you replace a fuse, you have to replace it with the same amperage. Most of your circuits are going to be 10, 15, or 20 amps. If you use the wrong amperage, you run the risk of creating a fire hazard or immediately blowing the fuse.
Probably the most practical maintenance advice I can give you is to have the right fuses on hand at all times. You should have at least 4-5 of each type of fuse you need. Therefore, if you have 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 amp fuses, you should have 20-25 fuses in your spares.
Also, keep the fuses near the fuse box with a flashlight.
It might go without mentioning, but keep water, dirt, dust, and flammable substances away from your fuse box.
Upgrading Your Fuse Box
Aside from the reasons mentioned above, upgrading your electrical box to a breaker box comes with other benefits. For example, if you have a fuse box, you likely have lower than 200 amp service. That limits your home’s total electricity usage. Some fuse boxes are rated for 60 amps! That’s not enough for a modern house.
Additionally, I grew up replacing fuses. It wasn’t fun. Circuit breakers are much easier to work with.
Finally, breaker boxes are safer. They’re newer, less of a fire risk, and subject to stricter safety standards.