Experienced Electrician for Salt Lake City & St. George Utah Areas

Is There A Difference Between A Fuse And Circuit Breaker?

Both fuses and circuit breakers exist to regulate the flow of electricity in your home, which can lead to some people to consider them the same kind of electrical device. However, there are distinct differences in how circuit breakers and fuses operate, which separate them as electrical equipment.

As your local electricians, HedgeHog Electric is here to help breakdown the various differences that exist between a circuit breaker and a fuse.

Breakdown Of Differences Between A Fuse And Circuit Breaker

To start off, one of the main differences between fuses and circuit breakers is how they disrupt the flow of electricity in your home. Both devices have a set point of how many amps—the amount of energy being transferred— are allowed to pass through it.

However, a fuse has a metal strip that is destroyed when the amperage is too high, while a circuit breaker will allow a slight amount of too-high amperage pass through before triggering.

Once the fuse is blown, that’s all there is to it. You will need to replace it before you can regain power to the area that the fuse conducted electricity to. Where with a popped circuit breaker, it is as simple as flipping the switch back to the ON position.

For a thorough breakdown of the differences between a circuit breaker and a fuse, you can consult the chart below.

 

Fuse

Circuit Breaker

Cost

Can start in price under $1

Generally, can start in price from $2 and can reach over $300. Usually has a higher price point than fuses on average

Function

Is designed to detect too high electrical currents and interrupt the flow

Only interrupts the flow of too high electrical currents

Amp Breaking Capacity

Fairly low, especially compared to a circuit breaker

High breaking capacity

Status Indicator

No indication of its status, aside from lack of power to the associated area

You can see the status of circuit breakers, as they often have the words ON / OFF on the switches

Electrical Protections

Protects you against electrical overloads

Provides protection against short circuits and electrical overloads

Reusable

One-time use then needs to be replaced

Can be reused multiple times

Operation Mode

Operates automatically

Can be manually operated as well as left to automatic operation

Switching Ability

No switching ability. The fuse needs to be removed if you need to cut power to an area

You can easily turn a circuit breaker off to have electrical work performed

Available Versions

Single pole versions available

Single pole and multiple pole versions can be found

Operating Time

Short operating time of 0.002 seconds

Comparatively high operating time of 0.02-0.05 seconds

Operating Temperature

Not affected by ambient temperature

Operation depends on the ambient temperature

Should You Choose Circuit Breakers Or Fuses?

In the case of most homeowners, you don’t really need to choose between fuses and circuit breakers. Fuses are older electrical systems, and most modern homes have circuit breaker electrical panels installed.

Should your home come with a fuse-based electrical panel, you may want to consider using our wiring services to have a circuit breaker panel installed. Not only are the clear benefits of reusability that comes with the use of circuit breakers, but they also have a more tolerant threshold for energy exchange and can help protect you from short circuits as well as electrical overdraws.

Also, electrical panels with fuses often don’t have enough spots to provide the proper amount of energy to the various areas of your home. Some people get around this issue by using higher voltage fuses, but this workaround can be dangerous if the fuse doesn’t blow in time to protect your electrical system from passing more amps than it was designed to handle. So, for your protection, you may want to seriously consider swapping that electrical fuse panel for a circuit breaker panel.

If you would like to have an old fuse-based electrical panel replaced with a circuit breaker panel or need other electrical services, feel free to contact us. Our team of electricians is ready to help make your home electrically safe and operating smoothly.

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