fuse blownWhen the power goes out in your home, a blown fuse is the most likely cause. Though it can be startling, a blown fuse is not an emergency. In fact, with a few tools and the right knowledge, you can restore power on your own in just a few minutes.

Before You Start: Safety Precautions

When you’re working around electricity, safety is always the priority. Before replacing a fuse, switch off the lights and unplug major appliances in the room. Fuses blow because they’re overloaded. Replacing one without reducing the power draw will only cause it to blow again.

Also, make sure your hands are dry before opening the fuse box, to minimize the risk of shock. Wear rubber-soled shoes as well. Rubber is an insulator, so if you accidentally touch an electrical component, you won’t be grounded. For the same reason, it’s a good idea to wear insulated gloves and use tools with rubber grips.

Replacing a Blown Fuse: 3 Steps

After you’ve taken the necessary precautions, locate your fuse box. Home builders normally place them in the garage, basement, attic, or utility room. In an apartment, it might be located in the main hallway or hallway closet as well. Once you’ve got it open, the process is straightforward.

  1. Shut Off the Power. You don’t want electricity flowing through the fuse box while you’re working with it.
  2. Identify the Blown Fuse. Blown fuses are generally easy to spot. Just look for the blackened cylinder. If you can’t see it, you’ll have to remove each fuse, then restore power to the electrical panel, until you find the one connected to the darkened room.
  3. Remove the Blown Fuse. Some fuses snap into place, but most are screwed into the electrical panel. Take out the burnt fuse and replace it with an identical one. It needs to be the same size, type, and amperage rating, otherwise, it will fry the circuit. In a worst-case scenario, it can trigger an electrical fire.

After you’ve installed the new fuse, flip the power on and plug your appliances back in one at a time. If the fuse blows again, move some of your heavy appliances into another room to reduce the power draw. A blown fuse is normally caused by overloaded circuits, but it can also be caused by a short circuit, grounded circuit, or arc fault. In that case, you’ll have to hire an electrician to repair or upgrade your wiring, in order to increase your home’s electrical capacity.

Fixing a Blown Fuse: 4 Tips

Repairing a blown fuse isn’t complicated, but it can be a pain. Save yourself a headache with these tips.

  1. Find Your Fuse Box. Surprisingly, many homeowners don’t know the location of their fuse box. Before something goes wrong, take a moment to identify yours.
  2. Buy Spare Fuses. Don’t wait for an emergency. Purchase a box of fuses from your local hardware store, just in case.
  3. Keep a Flashlight and Tools Nearby. Store supplies where you need them, so you’re not stuck fumbling around in the dark.
  4. Label Your Circuits. Identifying the rooms connected to each fuse saves time. Instead of inspecting fuses one by one, you can simply remove the fuse connected to the darkened room.

Keep in mind that not every home has a fuse box. Houses constructed after 1965 tend to use circuit breakers instead. These are even easier to fix. After the power goes out, the switch connected to the overloaded circuit flips from “on” to “off.” All you have to do is flip it back.

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