What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Fuse?

Fuses have the advantages of being inexpensive, readily available and easily replaced. Their disadvantages are being inadequate to safely, efficiently assume the load of many modern electrical systems and difficult to identify once blown. Homes with electrical systems installed prior to 1965 typically use fuses as electric-overload protection.

In an older home with a fuse-based electrical system, an overload in amperage levels “blows” a fuse connected to the particular circuit. Replacement of fuses is as easy as unscrewing the blown unit and screwing in a new one. This advantage has its limits, as the high amounts of amperage used as homes become more electric-driven may be excessive for fuses, causing them to blow frequently.

Circuit breaker systems are used in contemporary building and are replacing fuse usage. Although fuses are not expensive to replace and are easy to find, if the fuse box is not labeled properly, another disadvantage of a blown fuse is often the destruction of the identifying marks. Replacement with an inferior-strength fuse often results in needing another replacement.

The cost to change an electrical system from fuses to circuit breakers is a deterrent for some, yet switching to circuit breakers increases a home’s resale value. Also, insurance coverage and pricing may be expensive with inadequate fuse systems in a house that should be using breakers.