fuses and circuit breakersEvery home and building that has an electrical system has to have fuses or circuit breakers installed. You might remember your parents or grandparents’ old house having a fuse box down in the basement. Homes and other structures that are built today almost always have a breaker box instead.

Have you ever wondered what the difference between fuses and circuit breakers is? Is one better or safer than the other? Here are an electrician’s thoughts on the unique mysteries of fuses and circuit breakers for the average Joe.

What do fuses and circuit breakers do?

Both devices are designed to interrupt the flow of electricity in an overloaded circuit. Fuses contain a piece of metal that melts when the circuit is overloaded, while a circuit breaker has an internal mechanism that’s triggered by power surges.

What are the benefits of fuses?

The metal filaments inside fuses tend to burn quickly in the event of a power surge. This means that during emergencies, fuses can shut off the electrical current extremely fast and provide almost immediate protection for appliances and electronics. While a blown fuse will always have to be replaced, new fuses are affordable and relatively easy to install. Getting a fuse box installed on your property is also a more economical choice than a breaker box.

What are the benefits of circuit breakers?

Circuit breakers still offer reliable surge protection for your home, but their reaction time tends to be slightly slower than fuses. This could put your electronics in danger during a power surge. On the other hand, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets offer an additional layer of protection, but they can only be installed in homes that are equipped with a breaker box, rather than a fuse box. Another perk to having circuit breakers, which are considered the latest technology in electrical system protection, is that they can easily be reset and reused after they are tripped in a power surge.

What’s the best choice for a residential remodel or new build?

Circuit breakers are the preferred system of protection for today’s home electrical systems. They offer durable, reliable service to fulfill virtually every home’s power protection needs. And with modern building codes requiring GFCI outlets to be installed in bathrooms and kitchens, having a breaker box has become a necessity.

While the initial cost of a breaker box installation tends to be greater than a fuse box install, the overall performance, long life span, and extremely low maintenance cost considerably outweigh that investment. Through Atlanta’s long thunderstorm season, a breaker box will protect your home and its contents from our frequent power surges.

If you have more questions about fuses and circuit breakers, call Arc Angel at 770.889.9243. Whether your home is new or old, we can help you keep your power on and your family safe.