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Circuit Breakers and FusesAll homes are built with either a fuse box or circuit breaker box. These units protect wires in each circuit from overheating and causing a fire. Most homes are now equipped with circuit breaker boxes but service boxes or panels in older homes may rely on fuses.

Breakers and fuses are safety devices in a home. They prevent the overloading of your electrical systems and help prevent electrical fires. If a breaker or fuse exceeds the safe level of current flow, a circuit breaker or fuse will stop the electrical flow.

Electrical Fuses

If your home was built before 1965, it may have an electrical box with fuses that help protect your electric or lighting circuits. Homes with fuse boxes tend to have more blown fuses because fuses have different amperage levels. Newer homes require up to 200-amps or more, depending on the building size. To help prevent blown fuses and electrical fires, a proper functioning circuit breaker or fuse box is critical. If you own an older home and continually blow fuses or are unsure of the safety of your fuse box, contact Main Stream Electric in Sacramento at (916) 439-5253 or San Jose at (408) 422-8730.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are installed in all newer homes. While fuses must be replaced when they blow out or burn out, a circuit breaker can be mechanically re-adjusted or replaced when it trips. When a circuit breaker trips, the likely culprits are your appliances. Too many appliances plugged into one circuit will overload the circuit. If your circuit breaker continues tripping even after resetting the switch, it’s best to contact Main Stream Electric immediately. Our skilled residential electricians will identify the problem and replace the necessary parts.

FAQ

Will my circuit breaker ever go bad or get weak?

A circuit breaker doesn’t trip at a lower level than it should unless a loose connection/contact is making heat and throws it off. There are many reasons a circuit breaker will not reset. It could be a short in the wire that causes it to continually re-trip or it may be because an individual doesn’t know the right way to reset the switch. Whatever the reason, it’s best to have the professional electrical contractors at Main Stream Electric check out the problem.

How do I know if my circuit breaker is bad?

First, check and see how many electrical appliances/lights are still on after losing power to a circuit. If more things are on than off, the breaker is fine. Check to make sure the breaker isn’t tripped. Force the switch to the off position and then firmly on. If this does not fix the problem or your circuit breaker continues to trip, contact our professional electricians at Main Stream Electric. They will visit your home, evaluate your circuit breaker or fuse box, and determine the best solution to your individual electrical problem.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the standard circuit breaker?

Advantages:

  • They can be reset quickly.
  • It’s usually clear which switch has tripped and can be easily reset.
  • All electrical connections are hidden in a breaker box.

Disadvantages:

  • It’s more expensive to install and repair.
  • It doesn’t typically react as quickly as a fuse to surges in power. This means it’s possible that electronics connected to the circuit could be damaged by “let-through” energy.
  • It’s more sensitive to vibration and movement, causing a switch to trip even when there is no electricity overload.