Should your superintendent change fuses?

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We work as condo electricians and have great relationships with the superintendents in the buildings we service. If there’s one thing we would like to express, it’s that electricity can kill and unless your superintendent also has extensive knowledge of electricity, they shouldn’t be putting themselves at risk to change a fuse.

But a blown fuse is pretty straightforward, right?

A fuse’s job is to minimize electrical fault current and reduce any risk of damaging equipment or injuring an individual. Its basic structure is usually a thin wire in the middle of a ceramic cylinder filled with heat-resistant sand. The cylinder is then closed off with metal end caps. When an excessive current flows through the fuse, that thin wire heats up to the point of melting and breaks the circuit.

Determining the cause of the blown fuse isn’t as simple

The biggest risk of a superintendent being responsible for changing fuses is that the fuses may have blown because of a larger issue in the circuit. Sometimes the fault on the circuit is because of a short circuit, but other times, a ground fault could have caused the blown fuse.

Short circuit

If a “hot” wire and a “neutral” wire touch each other, they create a short circuit. Large amounts of current flow and either the fuse blows or the circuit breaker trips. There are usually some sparks, a pop, and a little smoke.

Ground fault

When a “hot” wire comes in contact with the ground wire or a grounded portion of a junction box, appliance, or device, it causes a ground fault. Again, large amounts of electrical current flow through the fuse or breaker, causing a blow or trip.

In other words, it’s difficult to understand the reason for the issue in the circuit if you’re only going by the result, the blown fuse.

A licensed electrician will be able to do some investigation and determine why your fuse has blown. They know the right clues to look for and the safest way to get the circuit back up and running.

Tip: You should have a supply of spare fuses on hand for when fuses blow. There are many different types of fuses and the best way for ensuring that your electrician can arrive and get the job done quickly is to keep your utility room well stocked.

Speaking of changing fuses and stocking utility rooms, have you taken a look at our post “Being Prepared, Spare fuses” ?

Picture from: Life Hacker