You want to know what type of fuse to use in your home, but you don’t know how to choose. There are different fuses, breakers, and switches that can be used for your electrical system. Knowing the difference is crucial because using the wrong fuse or switch could cause a fire and injure you or your family.
What Is the House Fuse?
It is a safety device used to limit the amount of electricity that flows into the house. The fuse is a thin wire that has a built-in circuit breaker that will trip if too much current flows through it. Normally, it will prevent excess current from damaging the wiring in your house.
Here’s how to choose the correct house fuse.
Identify the Voltage Being Protected
Fuses are rated by amperage, which is measured in amps. As with other electrical components, an incorrect fuse can cause problems like fire or damage to equipment. It’s important to use a fuse rated for more amperage than that of the protected circuit. For example, if you have a circuit that draws 20 amps at its maximum current draw, a 25-amp fuse should be used.
Fuses are also rated by voltage since they are placed in a series with the circuit they are protecting. Voltage indicates how much electricity is being allowed through the circuit. The voltage of your circuit must match the voltage of the fuse you plan to use for it to work properly.
Know the Size of the Fuse to Its Holder
A fuse holder is designed to hold fuses and other electrical components in place during installation. There are three kinds: flat, clip, and ring tabs/clips. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs.
Check the Fuse With an Inspection Window
A fuse with an inspection window makes it easy to see if the fuse is blown. In some circumstances, you may not be able to access the fuse box easily or at all. If this is the case, a fuse with an inspection window could save you from needing to remove the fuse completely.
Below are some of the different types of fuses.
The most commonly used fuses are cartridge types. They look like a plug with a metal cap at one end. The cartridge portion is filled with sand or small pieces of glass; when too much electricity flows through the circuit, the current heats up the sand or glass and it melts, breaking the connection and shutting off power to that circuit. The metal cap is attached to a spring mechanism that allows it to fit snugly into the socket but also lets you remove the fuse easily when needed.
Low-voltage fuses are used for 20- to 60-amp circuits and have similar ratings as cartridge fuses. The difference is that they’re made for 120-volt applications only. A low-voltage fuse will blow when excess current flows through it at 120 volts, but it won’t blow at 240 volts. This means that if a wire shorts out between two phases in your electrical panel, a low-voltage fuse will continue to allow power flow even though there’s a short circuit.
Screw-in fuses are the most common type of fuse used in homes. They are easy to remove and add, and the fuse itself is relatively inexpensive. Many older homes have fuse boxes that supply power to each circuit using a screw-in fuse. Because they are readily available, they’re one of the most commonly found types of fuses used in home wiring today.
A screw-in fuse consists of a glass tube that holds a metal strip or wire fuse element, which is rated for a specific current level. This metal strip can burn out when too much current flows through it.
High Voltage Fuses
Some appliances — like high-end ovens — require 240 volts to run, not the 120 volts that most residential circuits provide. These appliances require what is known as a “high voltage” fuse. High-voltage fuses are usually rated for 60 to 100 amps of power, and because they carry more electricity than standard household circuits, they cannot be installed in regular fuse boxes. Instead, they are usually located inside the appliance itself, although a licensed electrician may be able to install it for you.
Time-delay fuses, also called “T” fuses, are intended for use with motors and other equipment that draws large amounts of current at startup. The time-delay feature ensures that these spikes in current do not trip the fuse. Time-delay fuses have a longer delay than fast-acting fuses but not as long as a slow-blow fuse. Time-delay fuses only come in cartridge form.
You should now have a better understanding of the different types of fuses as well as what type of fuse to use for your specific application. Understanding how to properly identify the type of fuses you need and using them correctly will reduce the danger of a fire or shock in your home.
At Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can help you with all your needs at your home in Cincinnati. We also provide heating and cooling services as well as plumbing and ductwork. Call today to learn more.