Circuit Breakers vs. Fuses: What You Need To Know

Mister Sparky Electrician Houston electrical circuit breakers and home fuse box repairs.

Circuit breakers and fuses are at the apex of your home’s electrical system. Though they essentially do the same job – protecting your home from electrical overloads – it’s done in completely different ways.

Your air conditioner is on full blast, every ceiling fan is spinning, the television is blaring, the oven is heating up for dinner, a power tool is making noise in the garage, and someone’s taking a hot shower. Then, without warning, it all stops: power overload. In this day and age, the most common phrase following such an event would be something along the lines of, “a breaker tripped,” but there still may be some instances when “a fuse blew.” So what’s the difference?

The difference between circuit breakers and fuses

You’re probably much more familiar with circuit breakers than you are with fuses. This is because fuses were eventually replaced by circuit breakers as homes became more modern. However, some homes still function with a fuse panel as opposed to a breaker box, and this is perfectly okay.

Fuses, which are becoming more and more outdated, are a bit more cumbersome to deal with. When a fuse becomes overloaded, the filament (a small, thin piece of metal) inside melts, interrupting the flow of electricity and preventing any possible mishaps. The bad part? Once a fuse is a blown, it’s replacement time.

Because of the way fuse panels operate, they’re considered more sensitive to overheating, thus being more effective in preventing circuit overloads. That doesn’t necessarily make them the safer option though. Fuses are often susceptible to improper installs and other technical, hazardous issues, whereas circuit breaks are better equipped to handle these types of problems.

 Circuit breakers have become the most common form of overload protection, and for good reason. They “trip,” or shut off, when electrical currents reach an unsafe level and can easily be reset afterwards. A more durable option than fuses, breakers offer the best solution to keeping your home’s power in check.


If you’re thinking about upgrading an older fuse panel to a new circuit breaker panel, let the pros at Mister Sparky do the job the right way. Updating your home’s electrical system will not only increase its resale value, but it will help your house run safer and more efficiently. Handling this type of job takes expert care, so contact us online or call (713) 428-2120 today to schedule your service.

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