What To Do If You Blow A Fuse [And 4 Common Causes]

Infographic of two people looking at an electrical box

It’s an all-too-common problem—you flip the switch (or push the button, depending on your home setup) to turn on a light or appliance, and instead of it coming on, you’re met with a loud bang and total darkness. You have just blown a fuse. 

At some point, everyone who owns a house or apartment is likely to experience the issue of a blown fuse. In this article, we’ll look at what causes you to blow a fuse and how best to address the problem. We’ll also provide tips for avoiding blown fuses in the future.

Steps to Take If You Have a Blown Fuse

Here is some advice for anyone who has blown a fuse in their home and what to do next. 

Identify Which Circuit Breaker Is Faulty

The first thing to do when you blow a fuse is to identify which circuit breaker is faulty. Most homes will have their circuit breakers labeled according to the area of the house they serve – e.g. ‘kitchen, “garage’ etc. This will help narrow down exactly where the problem lies.

Turn Off All Electrical Appliances

Once you have identified which circuit breaker is faulty, it’s important to ensure safety by turning off all electrical appliances connected to that particular circuit breaker – including lights, heaters and appliances such as washing machines and microwaves. This will minimize any further damage that could be caused by a power surge.

Assess the Damage

Once all electrical appliances connected to that particular circuit breaker have been turned off, it’s time to assess the damage done by the blown fuse. Have any wires been damaged? Is there smoke present? Are there any burnt components? It may be necessary to call an electrician if you cannot see any visible signs of damage or if you are unsure as to how best to proceed.

Replace The Fuse

Once any necessary repairs have been made, it is time to replace the fuse with one of exactly the same rating and specification – this is absolutely vital for safety reasons! It may be necessary to consult a professional electrician for advice if this is not something with which you are familiar. Make sure that all power switches are turned off before beginning this process!

Test & Reconnect Appliances

Once the new fuse has been inserted, it is an important test before reconnecting any electrical appliances. Using a multimeter set on resistance mode can help ensure that everything has been correctly wired up – but again, caution is advised here, and it may be sensible to seek out specialist advice from an electrician if not confident about how best to proceed with this step. Once everything checks out ok, then it should be safe to reconnect those electrical appliances affected by the blown fuse.

The Most Common Ways to Blow a Fuse 

Infographic of two electricians looking at a blown fuse

Every household can experience fuse problems at one point or another. Knowing the most common ways that a fuse can blow is essential to prevent any potential safety hazards. Here are four of the most common causes of blown fuses. 

Overloading Electrical Sockets

Overloading sockets is one of the main reasons for tripping a circuit breaker or blowing a fuse. If too many appliances are plugged into the same socket, and the circuit becomes overloaded, it could cause this issue. To avoid this, use only one appliance per socket and never daisy-chain extension cords together.

Faulty Appliances

Faulty electrical appliances can also trip circuits and blow fuses. This usually happens when an appliance has short circuits or there’s an issue with its wiring or internal parts. When this occurs, switching off all other appliances in order to reset the circuit should resolve this issue. However, if it doesn’t, be sure to consult an electrician as soon as possible. 

Faulty Outlets & Switches

Old outlets, switches and light fixtures with faulty wiring could also lead to blown fuses. This is caused by loose connections, which can occur due to age, overuse or weather conditions like rain or dust storms. Unfortunately, these outlets must be replaced straight away, as they become severe fire risks.

Old & Unsafe Electrical Systems

It’s also important to make sure you’re aware of your home’s electrical system age – as old electrical systems are more likely to cause blown fuses than newer ones. Apart from replacing old wires which may no longer meet safety standards, regular maintenance can help ensure that your house remains safe for its inhabitants.

Common FAQs About Blowing a Fuse

Understanding the most common causes and solutions for blown fuses is an essential part of household maintenance. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this issue. 

What does a blown fuse look like?

A blown fuse usually has a melted, blackened or grayish color. In some cases, you may also notice burn marks around the outer surface of the fuse. If you’re still unsure if a fuse is blown or not, it’s best to call in a qualified electrician who can check and replace it if needed.

How do I reset my circuit breaker?

Resetting your circuit breaker is easy! First, locate your circuit breaker board and switch off all appliances that are connected to the same fuse. You can then find the switch that corresponds to the tripped circuit (it will likely be pointing in between ‘Off’ and ‘On’) and flick it back towards the ‘On’ setting. It should now reset – but if your fuse continues to trip, you’ll need to contact an electrician as soon as possible.

Can I replace my own fuse?

It’s not recommended to replace your own fuses unless you have experience working with electrical wiring systems and know how to identify whether a fuse is suitable for your needs. Even if you think you know what you’re doing – it’s important to remember that incorrect replacement could lead to further problems down the line, so don’t take any chances.

How much does it cost to replace a fuse?

Replacing a fuse isn’t usually an expensive job since the cost of a single fuse is quite low. However, if the issue requires replacing multiple fuses or wiring and outlets, it could become costly – especially if you’re working with an electrician.

Are older houses more likely to blow a fuse?

In some cases, older houses may be more likely to blow a fuse due to outdated electrical wiring or incorrect connections. Poorly-maintained connections between wiring and fixtures can further increase the risk of problems.

Overall, fused circuits should be inspected on an annual basis by a qualified electrician. This helps to identify potential issues before they lead to a blown fuse – and can help you avoid unpleasant surprises like unexpected repair costs down the line!

When to Call a Pro?​

Before calling an electrician, double-check the fuses in your circuit breaker box. If the problem lies there – for example if the switch is flipped off – then simply turning it back on may resolve the issue. In this case, no professional help is necessary.

However, if the switch appears to be intact, then it’s likely that you need help from an expert. Contacting a professional electrician is usually faster and safer than trying to troubleshoot the issue yourself, and they can accurately assess the root of your problem and provide solutions.

To get an estimate for the cost of replacing your fuse, it’s best to get in contact with a qualified electrician who can assess the situation fully. They’ll be able to provide you with a more accurate quote based on their assessment of your home’s electrical system.

Blowing a fuse can quickly be a cause for panic – but with these tips, you can take the steps you need to take should you ever experience this issue in your own home.

Related: 11 Tips To Prepare For Power Outages

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