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How to change a fuse at home

Circuit Breaker In Dark

Power outages are a huge inconvenience, leaving you in the dark and unable to use your important appliances. Oftentimes, this frustrating situation can be caused by something as simple as a blown fuse. While you might feel tempted to try fixing it yourself, dealing with anything electrical requires a careful and knowledgeable approach. You don't want to put yourself at risk or make things worse, after all.

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Disclaimer: If your home is rented, it’s always advisable to check with your landlord or housing provider before proceeding with the following steps. If you rent your home from Places for People, you can contact us on 01772 667002 in England and Wales or 0131 657 0600 in Scotland. Alternatively, you can email us at or make a repair request through your online account.    

Understanding the difference between fuses and circuit breakers

Many homes now run off circuit breakers, also known as consumer units. These work similarly to fuse boxes but are simpler to use. When a circuit overloads, the breaker automatically flips to the "off" position, interrupting the current. Unlike physical fuses, which need replacing, breakers can be reset once the problem is resolved.

Traditional fuse boxes contain individual fuses, each responsible for a specific circuit in your home. They are designed to safely interrupt the flow of electricity if there’s an overload. When a fault occurs, the filament melts, breaking the circuit and preventing potential damage to wiring or appliances.

Unsure whether your home has a fuse box or a consumer unit? It's best to consult a qualified electrician for assistance.  

If you’re a Places for People Customer and experience an electrical issue, make sure to get in touch to report a repair.

Safety first – essential precautions before changing a fuse at home

Before attempting any electrical work, prioritise safety with these crucial checks:

  • Find your fuse box, usually located near your electricity meter, identify the power switch, and turn it off completely.
  • Turn on a light switch in the affected area to make sure everything is powered down. If it remains off, you can continue.  Make sure your hands and any tools you use are completely dry, as moisture conducts electricity. Rubber gloves can also provide an extra layer of protection when handling fuses.  
  • If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about any step in the process, don't hesitate to call a qualified electrician.

To find out more in how to stay safe around electricity, take a look at our 10 electrical safety tips at home

How to change a fuse in a modern fuse box

Here's a quick step-by-step on what to do if you experience an outage with a modern fuse box, also known as a consumer unit or circuit breaker. With these, there’s no need to change any physical fuses as the breaker switches fill their role.

Step 1: Find the tripped breaker switch

Locate the circuit breaker, which is likely to be near your electricity meter. It should contain labelled switches (e.g., "bathroom," "living room"). Look for a breaker switch in the "off" position, indicating a tripped circuit.

Step 2: Identify what has caused the overload

Before resetting the breaker, identify and address the source of the issue, for instance, unplugging unnecessary appliances from the circuit. 

Step 3: Turn the breaker switch back on

Once the overload is rectified, you can attempt to reset the breaker – moving it to the “on” position – which should restore power.

Circuit Breaker With One Switch Off

How to fix a blown fuse

Before you begin the process of replacing a blown fuse, it’s important to equip yourself with the right tools for the job. Replacement fuses are easy enough to come by, most hardware stores and even some larger supermarkets will stock commonly used fuses. If you’re unsure of which type of fuse you need, it’s always a good idea to bring the blown model with you for reference.

Another smart decision is to familiarise yourself the safety checks needed before you perform any electrical maintenance yourself, our handy guide can help. If you’re ever in doubt or don’t feel sure on how to safely perform the task at hand, contact an electrical professional for help.

With the power off and safety measures in place, it's time to find the fuse that’s causing the problem. Open the fuse box and locate the individual glass or ceramic fuses, often labelled according to the circuit they control (e.g., "kitchen," "upstairs"). A blown fuse is usually easy to identify - look for a broken or melted filament within the glass tube or discolouring.

Once you’ve found it, you’re ready to begin the process of replacing it by following these simple steps :

Step 1: Fuse removal

Each fuse should have a screw-threaded base or a holder. Carefully unscrew or remove the fuse according to its design. Avoid using excessive force, as these are delicate components.

Step 2: Matching the amps

Replace the blown fuse with one having the exact same amp rating. Using a higher amperage is a major safety hazard, potentially leading to circuit overload and fire risk. The rating should be visible on the side of the fuse (e.g., 13A). If you're unsure, take the old fuse with you when buying a replacement to compare.

Step 3: Insert the new fuse

Carefully insert the new fuse into the same slot where you removed the old one. Secure it by screwing it back in place but be careful not to overtighten.

Step 4: Power up and check it’s working

Flip the main power switch on in the fuse box and then turn on a light or appliance controlled by the replaced fuse. If everything functions correctly, you're all set!

What if changing the fuse doesn’t work?

If the power doesn't return after replacing the fuse, it could indicate a trickier issue. Don't attempt further DIY as electrical problems beyond a blown fuse can pose serious safety risks. Call a qualified electrician to diagnose the problem.

Preventing power outages

While being able to change a fuse is a useful skill to have, prevention is always the better approach. Power outages can be caused by larger problems with the grid, which is unfortunately unavoidable, but many are to do with putting too much pressure on a home’s circuit.

Here are some tips to minimise the risk of blown fuses:

  • Don't overburden circuits by plugging too much into one socket extension.
  • If you experience blown fuses often, you might have an overloaded system. Ask a qualified electrician about upgrading your fuse box or consumer unit to handle your energy needs.
  • Schedule regular electrical inspections. This can identify potential problems before they cause outages or safety issues.

If your home loses all power, or you want to be prepared in case it happens in the future, you might find it useful to read our blog on how to deal with complete electrical failure.

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