We all know that not all houses were built at the same time. What this means that there are different types of electrical appliances and they all vary in age and features. Two of the most common components of are the electrical system in a house are the breaker panel and fuse box. So, what are they and what do they do?
The fuse box and breaker panel are very similar in the way they operate and the things they do. Primarily, they split electric currents into different circuits and places where they are needed within a household. Also, they stop the flow of current whenever they detect excess current.
Usually, a fuse box contains a metal filament that permits the flow of current. Whenever, there is overcurrent condition, the filament will melt and electric power will be disrupted. This is what is commonly regarded as a “blown fuse”. Unlike a circuit breaker that can be reset, a blown fuse will have to be replaced. Although fuse boxes are efficient, they have many disadvantages and this led to the introduction of breaker panels.
The major drawback is that fuses have to be replaced almost every now and then. They are not in any way convenient. Apart from that, they cannot be used together with AFCI’s and GFCI’s. Fuse boxes are also a huge fire risk. This is because a bigger fuse is needed to compensate for higher demands for electricity. The more the fuse size is increased, the higher the risk and dangers involved.
A Breaker Panel
The principle of operation of breaker panels is different from fuse boxes. Whenever overheating occurs, it has a unique way of handling it and halting current flow. It either uses the principle of bimetallic strip or solenoid to execute this task. We already know that both are based on temperature difference and difference in expansion of two distinct metals. When the breaker goes off, you only have to return the switch to the “ON” position. This is an advantage the breaker has over the fuse. The fuse would burn and have to be replaced. Unlike a fuse box, a breaker panel can work with AFCI and GFCI outlets. It also permits more load and electrical appliances than a fuse box. Generally, a breaker is safer than a fuse box. The risk of fire outbreak is lesser or non-existent. Apart from that, a breaker panel allows you meet the modern electrical demands in residential and industrial buildings.
So, if what you have is a fuse box, you may want to consider replacing it with a breaker panel. Using a breaker panel may also mean you have to change some wires and outlets in the house. That is really not a problem, a qualified electrician can fix that and make your breaker work seamlessly with a GFCI and AFCI outlet.