Electricity is one of the basic essentials in our homes, coming before almost anything else. If a fuse goes, it can be frustrating, but it helps to know what to do and when to call an electrician.
Causes of tripped or blown fuses
Finding out the cause of a tripped or blown fuse usually involves a process of elimination and a little patience. Most common causes are:
- Too many appliances plugged in
- A faulty appliance
- An appliance that is not maintained or is used inappropriately (e.g. overfilled kettle)
- Faulty immersion heaters
- Blown lightbulb
- Worn cooker rings.
If a fuse goes…
If a fuse goes, head straight to your fuse box, which is near your meter. Hopefully, you will know where it is and how to access it already. Your fuse box will have either fuses or trip switches. If a fuse “blows” then you will have to replace it in order to regain power. Trip switches are a more modern alternative to fuses. Rather than the fuse physically breaking, the switch is tripped and the power circuit goes from “on” to “off”.
Reset the trip switch
If a trip switch has gone, you should easily be able to see which one is the problem as the lever will be in the down position (usually showing “off” in red). Simply push the switch back up, to show “on” in green. If the switch flips down immediately, that is a sign that you have a faulty appliance plugged in somewhere. This is where the fun starts!
Finding a faulty appliance
It is most likely that only one circuit has tripped.
- Make a note of the appliances that aren’t working and unplug each one. If you have an immersion heater, switch it off.
- Once everything is unplugged, flip the trip switch to ON. It should stay on this time.
- Now go around the house and plug in each item that you have unplugged.
- Keep plugging appliances in until the fuse trips again; you have identified your culprit!
- Keep the faulty appliance unplugged (you can switch the trip back on now) and take it to a nearby electrical specialist for repair.
If the faulty item has a plug, it is worth changing the fuse in the plug before you take the appliance to be repaired. Replacing a fuse is not dissimilar to changing a battery. Unscrew the cover and look at the fuse in the plug already, or check the rating on the plug to find out what fuse you need. Once you know what fuse to use, it is a case of removing the old fuse, and popping a new one in.
While it is fine to attempt to do a range of home repairs yourself, when it comes to electrical faults, it is best left to the professionals. If you need to find an electrician, check out Trust A Trader’s directory of local trusted electricians. For more tips and advice, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.