Blown Fuse – How to Check and Repair

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Tristan Cameron

Tristan is the owner and operator of North Shore Electricians. He has been in the industry for years and knows the ins and outs of everything electrical.

If lights go out in your home or appliances stop working, chances are you’ve blown a fuse. The fuse will need to be replaced, and while you can do it yourself, there is a safety risk involved, so it is better to leave it to a professional.

Here’s a look at what causes a fuse to blow and how to locate the damaged one. Then, we’ll look at the issues with replacing or repairing it and some preventative measures.

Why Fuses Blow

As we increase the amount of electronic devices and apps we use daily, we’re putting more strain on the switchboard and fuses than ever before. Many older switchboards are struggling with the load, and as a fuse can only handle so much, its only response is to burn out. 

Houses with older wiring, faulty connections, water in the walls, and defective appliances can all contribute to a fuse blowing.

The instant result is lights or appliances going out and ceasing to operate. The task then is to identify which fuse has blown and then set about getting it replaced.

Identifying a Blown Fuse

There are a few ways to discover which fuse is the one that’s blown, and a lot of it comes down to how the switchboard was first installed.

Labelled Fuses

If each fuse has been properly labelled at the point of installation, then based on the room where the power is out, you can identify which fuse needs replacing. Sadly, it’s rare, especially with older switchboards, for this level of labelling to be present and something to keep in mind for the future.

Physical Damage

Most often, when a fuse blows, there’s noticeable damage done. It’s likely to have brown or black patches on it or even be melted or chipped. Be very careful handling this fuse, especially if it’s just gone out, as it may still be hot to touch.

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Fixing or Replacing a Blown Fuse

As we mentioned, fixing or replacing a fuse can be dangerous; there’s the risk of burning, shock, or electrocution.

Here are some reasons why it’s difficult and dangerous:

Outdoor Switchboards

Most switchboards in Australian homes are located outside and are at the mercy of the elements. Everybody knows that water and electricity are dangerous when mixed together, so if it’s been raining outside and you open your switchboard, you’re putting your life into your hands.

All Power Must Be Off

Before attempting to pull out and replace fuses, there must be zero power running through the switchboard. You must be 100% sure that the mains switch has disconnected everything. Any energy flowing through the switchboard could shock or electrocute you if you start pulling and playing with things.

It’s Complicated

Some Australian switchboards have older-style fuses, which are hard to replace and must be repaired. This is done by delicately removing the burned-out wire and looping another one into its place. This is finicky work and, if not done correctly, can cause the fuse to blow again as soon as it’s plugged back in.

Repair or Replace?

It’s not always a clear-cut decision between repairing or replacing blown fuses. Naturally, if the unit is damaged, it’ll need to be replaced, and that’s not always possible if it’s an older-style fuse. If so, an entire switchboard upgrade may be necessary to ensure more modern fuses are installed.

As you can see, blown fuses aren’t just a matter of unplugging and replugging. For safety reasons alone, it’s best to call us at North Shore Electricians to fix the issue for you.

Preventative Measures

Blown fuses will continue to happen, but there are ways to reduce the frequency, and it all comes down to your switchboard.

Many Australian homes haven’t had their switchboards upgraded in over 30 years, and in that time, we’ve grown used to plugging in more devices than ever. Those older switchboards weren’t designed for today’s power use, so a switchboard upgrade is necessary. 

Another reason for a high rate of blown fuses is that the wiring in the home is old and fragile and may be causing short circuits. In this case, you may need to get your entire property rewired

If the switchboard is old, it may not have the correct amount, if any, safety switches or circuit breakers. If this is the case, for the sake of you and your family, consider installing some today.

Leave it to the Professionals

With the amount of power we consume daily, the chances of a fuse blowing are high. As you’ve seen, there are dangers to locating and fixing them yourself. It’s not always as easy as it looks on YouTube.

To ensure you and your family are safe, if you have a blown fuse, call Northshore Electricians as soon as possible, and one of our experienced team members can come out and fix or repair the damaged one. We’ll also let you know if we spot anything else that needs attention. 

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