Home & Work Safety

Indoor Projects

Fuses and Circuit Breakers

You can fix power interruptions.
You could expect quite a shock - financially, that is - if you had to call in an electrician every time you blew a fuse. When a power interruption occurs, follow these steps:
  • Unplug appliances that are sensitive to power spikes.
  • Switch off power at the main switch in or near your service panel. Never work with electrical wiring unless the main switch is turned off. If you don't have a main switch, turn all circuit breakers to off.
  • If you have fuses: A blown fuse will look blackened or discolored. Replace it with a new one of the correct rating for the circuit (typically 15 amps).
  • If you have circuit breakers: Turn the one that is off back to on.
  • Try to determine what caused the problem and correct it. It's useless to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker only to have it blow or trip again.
  • Restore power.
Change fuses safely.
Never change fuses or reset circuit breakers in the dark. Keep a flashlight handy for illuminating this job. NEVER, ever use a penny or a piece of metal to jump a blown fuse - this is very dangerous and could start a fire.

Do your fuses blow or circuit breakers trip often?
This may be a symptom of circuit overloading with too many appliances or lights operating at once. Correct the problem by removing some of the load on the circuit, then replace the fuse or reset the breaker.

Be sure to understand your home's wiring basics. Observe safety guidelines when changing a fuse or resetting a circuit breaker.