17 September 2009

Fuse Keeps Blowing #1 Re-wireable fuses

I was recently called to a home in Epping where the new owners complained of a power fuse blowing everyday. At first I suspected an electrical fault in an appliance, our investigation however uncovered a number of issues that would require some attention.

The issues found included :-
Part 1. Switchboard with re-wireable fuses
Part 2. Overloaded power circuits
Part 3. Illegal wiring

I will write about each issue over the next week.

Firstly, the existing switchboard board was the older Federal board with ceramic re-wireable fuse holders. As shown below.

These boards are increasingly becoming the cause of electrical faults some causing fires in homes around Melbourne. If your home has one of these boards, you should have it replaced as soon as you can. Loose cable connections and/or fuse contacts cause an increase in heat and if unattended will result in damage to wiring or can even result in a house fire. If the fuse wire is replaced too many times over the years, the fuse contacts become loose.

Another issue with re-wireable fuses is that un-qualified personnel attempt to replace the fuse wire after an electrical fault. In some cases the fuse wire is not replaced with the correct fuse wire. This can cause a fire risk to the home. The fuse wire is designed to be the weak link in the electrical circuit, if more current is drawn than the installed cable can support, the fuse wire will overheat and melt, thus disconnecting supply. If the weak link is strengthened, then the weak link in the electrical circuit can become the wire install within the walls and ceiling of the home, replacement of this is very costly.

A better way.

The installation of a new circuit breaker board with in-built safety switches (approx $700 inc GST) will not only better protect your home and electrical wiring, it will protect family and friends from electrocution. The circuit breaker installed is factory set with a current limit. When more current is drawn than the rating of the circuit breaker, the breaker will trip. If this occurs, push back to the on position to reset. If the breaker trips immediately, a fault exists somewhere in the home. Disconnect all appliances you can find and repeat the process. If the breaker trips again call an electrician ASAP. If the breaker stays on, then one appliance you have disconnected has an electrical fault. Have this appliance repaired or replaced.