Differences between a Fuse Box and a Circuit Breaker

Fuse boxes and circuit breakers are the heart of a building’s electrical system. Both serve the function of diverting electricity delivered by a utility company to all areas of a building, whether it is a home or commercial setting. Moreover, they protect sensitive networks from overloads, short circuits, or ground faults by terminating wire connections when they overheat. In buildings built before the 1960s, fuse boxes are still often found, whereas circuit breakers are typically installed in newer infrastructure. Even though both systems perform the same function, most buildings eventually upgrade to circuit breakers for a number of reasons. To find out which option may be best for your operations, read on to learn more about the differences between fuse boxes and circuit breakers.

To determine whether a system incorporates a fuse or circuit breaker, all you need to do is locate the service panel and open it up. Behind the door, you will find rows of either circular plugs or rectangular switches; circular plugs that appear similar to the end of a lightbulb are fuses, whereas the switches are circuit breakers. Though both systems protect your electrical system from overloading and sparking a fire, they each achieve this in different manners.

Fuses Versus Circuit Breakers: Function

To start, fuses are small, single-use plugs made of a filament that will melt if the circuit becomes too hot. Once the filament melts, electricity cannot pass through that circuit until the fuse is replaced. The filament is visible through a clear window at the top of the plug, making it easy to determine whether it has melted or not, as a cloudy window indicates the fuse has blown.

On the other hand, circuit breakers are electromagnetic on/off switches that control current moving through each circuit in a building. If a circuit were to draw in too much power and overload, the switch is impacted first by the surge, which then turns it off. Once the switch trips, whatever overloaded your circuit can be unplugged, and the power can be turned back on at the tripped circuit breaker.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Fuse Boxes vs. Circuit Breakers

Most people would agree that an old fuse box should be replaced with a circuit breaker, being that circuit breakers are more convenient and can safely handle higher electrical loads. Because most modern homes and commercial buildings run multiple devices, an upgrade to their electrical capabilities is often in store.

When a fuse blows, it will always need to be replaced with a new one, which can be inconvenient if you do not have extras on hand. Also, everything in the circuit must be unplugged, and there are a variety of different types of fuses, so it is crucial to replace the blown fuses with the proper type. If a fuse is introduced to a circuit with fewer amps, for example, there is a risk of fire.

Circuit Breaker Maintenance and Replacement

If your circuit breaker trips often, it could be a sign that the breaker is worn out or a circuit has been overloaded because of too many outlets drawing power from it. When you require replacement parts for your operations, do not hesitate to reach out to Fulfillment 3Sixty, where we prioritize acquiring components of the highest quality. To do this, we source all of our products from leading manufacturers that are included on our Approved Vendor List (AVL) and subject countless parts to rigorous quality assurance measures for your benefit. To commence procurement with a reliable partner that will take your needs and restrictions into consideration, do not hesitate to take advantage of our RFQ service today.


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