Flipping on the hairdryer. Starting the microwave. Clicking “broil” on the toaster oven. Turning on the vacuum cleaner. Each are famous as the “one too many” device that suddenly overloads the circuits, plunging homeowners into darkness. Whoops! Time to find the flashlight and reset the circuit breaker. As you unplug the guilty device and locate the electrical panel, remember that your electrical system may be flashing red: you asked for too much and could have caused a fire hazard.
Circuit breakers and fuses are like safety nets for your electrical system and your home. Installed in neat rows in the electrical panel box – labeled for which parts of the house they power, if your electrician was conscientious - they cut off the electricity before wiring overheats and catches on fire. Fuses, common in older homes, contain pieces of metal that melt and interrupt the flow of electricity when they get too hot. Breakers, the standard in most homes today, have switches that mechanically cut the electricity off when they sense unsafe conditions. Breakers can be reset. Fuses are one-time use only and must be replaced when they burn out.
If fuses burn out or breakers trip frequently, it’s time for a qualified electrician like those at Service America to evaluate the cause. Possible culprits include:
No matter the cause of a burned fuse or tripped breaker, always seek professional help immediately if you find melted wiring, smell smoke or feel heat from electrical components. And remember that fuses and breakers even protect us from dangerous electrical conditions we didn’t cause through vacuuming or cooking dinner. They cut electricity during power surges from lightning.
What's new with our company and customers.