What Do You Mean You Dont Know A Circuit Breaker From A Fuse

Dated: 11/23/2019

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What Do You Mean You Don't Know A Circuit Breaker From A Fuse?

When you view a home, how do you know what you’re looking at when it comes to the electrical system? Do you know the differences and what each implies?

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Electricity in modern homes is provided via a circuit breaker panel. 

Circuit Breaker Panel


Typical service comes into the home at 240V from the street and is then split by an electrician into 110V and 220V loops… 110V for your standard stuff - lighting, coffee pot, tv, etc. and 220V for more heavy duty stuff - ovens, air conditioning, and dryers.

The current throughout the home is typically rated between 100A and 200A. 

You can usually tell which by the main shutoff breaker. 

Think of Amps like water flowing through a pipe. 

The higher the number, the more equipment can be powered.

Older homes may be served by fuse panels or knob-and-tube wiring. 

Fuse Panel

Knob & Tube Wiring



These are typically only rated to 60A of current. 

Both are safe yet pose their own hazards.

Knob-and-tube wiring is ungrounded, meaning any electrical surge can raise the risk of fire, shock, or electrocution.

Both limit the number of available circuits in the home, and with today’s power hungry society, you’ll end up with overloaded circuits.

In a fuse panel, this will result in blown fuses.

For knob-and-tube wiring, you’ll end up with hot, saggy wires… and if those wires are covered by insulation, there’s an increased risk of fire.

Home served by fuse panels or knob-and-tube wiring will cost more to insure and will very likely reduce the number of insurers willing to provide coverage on the home.

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