Changing a fuse in 3 easy steps

Today, most homes have electrical switchboards equipped with miniature circuit breakers. But, many older homes still have a fuse box instead of a switchboard. When something goes wrong with the flow of electricity into your home, the fuses in this box will blow. Thankfully, they're easy to replace. Here's how.

Changing a fuse in 3 easy steps

What you will need to change a fuse

  • Screwdriver
  • Fuse wire of correct amp rating
  • Wire cutters

Before you begin

  • The main switch on your switchboard controls the electric current passing into your home.
  • If you still use fuses, keep spare fuse wire handy.
  • Label circuits clearly, including the applicable amp rating, and always use fuse wire with the correct amp rating.
  • A current's rate of flow (measured in "amps" or "ampere") depends on the application: eight amps for lighting, 15 for power (appliances), 30 for a stove.
  • Porcelain fuse carriers protect the fuses in your switchboard.

1. Remove your old fuse

  • Turn off the household power.
  • Switch off and disconnect any items on the affected circuit – if the circuits are not labelled, you will have to check them all.
  • Loosen the screws holding the damaged fuse wire in place.
  • Remove the fuse wire.

2. Install your new fuse

  • Cut the new wire to the correct length.
  • Wind this wire around one screw, then tighten the screw.
  • Pass the wire across the bridge, or thread it through the holder.
  • Wind it clockwise around the second screw, keeping the wire slightly slack.
  • Tighten the second screw.

3. Test your new fuse

  • Replace the fuse carrier, switch on and reconnect all items on the affected circuit and turn the household power back on.
  • If the fuse blows again, repeat the whole process, then switch items on one at a time until you identify the faulty light or appliance.
  • Check which button has popped out, and make a note of the affected circuit.
  • Turn off the main switch on the switchboard.
  • Push the button in, then turn the household power back on.
  • Switch on all the appliances in turn.
  • If one particular appliance seems to be the problem, have it repaired.

A few more things to keep in mind

  • Household power voltage can deliver a fatal shock. Never attempt any electrical work unless you know exactly what you are doing. The power supply must always be disconnected before starting any work, and a licensed electrician must carry out any installations.
  • Consider replacing your old fuses with MCBs. If a circuit fails, you can restore it instantly with the flick of a switch or the press of a button. Make sure you buy MCBs with the correct amp rating for the circuit.
  • After you have fixed a broken circuit, disconnect and then reconnect each item on that circuit. If one is faulty or overloading the circuit, the circuit will break again.
  • Some domestic switchboards are fitted with cartridge fuses. As with rewirable fuses, turn off household power, then switch off and disconnect items on the affected circuit. Take out the old fuse and fit in a new one. Be sure that the replacement has the correct amp rating.

Keep this guide in mind when you're replacing a fuse, and you'll be better able to bring power back to your home and avoid a shocking experience.

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