Fuse Boxes - Are They Safe?

Home Inspector with Complete Home Inspections, Inc. TN Lic#050

Fuse Boxes - Are They Safe?            
     Many older properties still have fuse boxes. While, these antiquated devices are Fuse Boxokay, fuse panels, unless altered can be deemed safe. I consult my clients to consider replacing these with modern devices. Here's why:
     Older style fuse boxes serve the same purpose as circuit breaker boxes in that the fuse controls the amount of electrical current from appliances within a home.
However; fuse boxes are outdated by modern standards. The advantage to having circuit breakers in a home is that instead of replacing a fuse each time it is used, circuit breakers can be easily reset. In the event of an overloaded circuit, fuses have been proven to be more reliable and will "blow".  Replacing blown fuses can be frustrating, expensive and time consuming. Because it is easy to over-fuse circuits, may insurance companies will not insure fuse panels unless the S-type retro devices are installed. Even with these devices, some insurance carriers charge more to insure fuse panels.
     According to studies, faulty electrical wiring causes approximately forty thousand house fires annually. Like circuit breakers, fuses are used to prevent over heated wiring and fires by interrupting electrical currents in overloaded circuits. When a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips, it is important to locate the source of the problem.
     For instance, if you have lights that seem to stop working frequently, you may have too many items connected to a single power source. Sometimes an appliance may have a short circuit; it could even mean a short circuit in the home’s internal wiring. In either case, it is best to have a professional in the appropriate trade evaluate the fuse box and wiring.
     As you would in a circuit breaker panel, label each fuse in the box. Labeling each fuse can make it easier to identify the suspect circuit. As a safety reminder, when replacing a fuse, turn everything off in the circuit to prevent electrocution.

This posting and the contents herein are the intellectual property of Michael Thornton of Complete Home Inspections, Inc. providing home inspections for Brentwood, Nashville, Davidson and Williamson County TN. This post is a contribution to the ActiveRain Real Estate Network.

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Complete Home Inspections, Brentwood TN 615.661.0297


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Anne M. Costello 02/09/2012 09:19 PM
  2. Greg Gillespie 02/10/2012 04:29 AM
  3. Roy Kelley 02/10/2012 11:39 AM
  4. Bob "RealMan" Timm 08/20/2015 07:30 AM
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Michael, Fortunately we don't run into too many of these old style ones in our area.  Most seem to have updated to the circuit breaker panels.

Feb 09, 2012 11:07 PM #6
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Michael ...Great info as always ...I will be back later today and re-blog this one!

Have a great one!

Feb 09, 2012 11:10 PM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

On every inspection I do with fuse boxes, there is a huge store of fuses nearby so they can be grabbed, apparently very often, as needed!

But gee, the color distribution in your photo is very well done, so this circumstance seems to be a good one!

Feb 09, 2012 11:11 PM #8
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Sir Michael~just wondering how much on the average does it cost to exchange one of those to a newer model.  I know you can't give me anything wrote in stone and it would only be applicable to your area but just curious

Feb 09, 2012 11:33 PM #9
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Good morning, James. In our area, the cost is somewhere between $900 - $1200.

Feb 09, 2012 11:41 PM #10
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Great post. Haven't thought about fuse boxes since moving to Florida some years ago. Enjoy your day! 

Feb 10, 2012 12:28 AM #11
Joshua Zargari
MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating - Lynbrook, NY
MJ Decorators Workshop

Good morning Michael.

You don't really see them in Long Island.

Have a nice weekend.


Feb 10, 2012 12:48 AM #12
Michael S. Bolton
Michael S. Bolton,Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
MN Appraiser

Good Morning~Most underwriters get all worked up when they find out that there is a fuse box in a house, and usually want the appraiser to indicate whether it's adequate. My response is always, "Ask the inspector or an electrician, they're the experts and that's above my pay grade."

Have an AWESOME day!

Feb 10, 2012 01:10 AM #13
John McCormack
Albuquerque Homes Realty * www.AlbuquerqueHomes.com - Albuquerque, NM
AlbuquerqueHomes.com, Albuquerque Homes Realty

Micheal, I haven't thought of fuse boxes in years.  That's why we use great home inspectors to make sure things are as they should be in all areas of the home.  Off to an inspection this morning myself. 

Feb 10, 2012 01:50 AM #14
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

DO you know my hubby FINALLY labeled each one about a month ago?  We always had to have one of up near the box while the other yelled what turned off or not...lol!

Feb 10, 2012 02:09 AM #15
Keith Gilkey
Re/Max Chesapeake - Elkton, MD
410-920-7214, Re/Max Chesapeake

Michael, Great advice! I still run into a few of these but not as often. Have a great weekend!

Feb 10, 2012 02:32 AM #16
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Insightful post, changing the old style fuse boxes to circuit breaks is in the owners best interests.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Feb 10, 2012 04:30 AM #17
Greg Gillespie
GumTree Realty / Genesis Realty Services,Inc - Tupelo, MS
CRS / Broker Owner

Thanks for the post Michael.  I see these a lot and you have given us some great thoughts to consider as buyers agents.

Feb 10, 2012 04:30 AM #18
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Michael-occasionally I see a home with a fuse box and I simply mention to the buyers that this is something you want to have checked to see if it fits with your intend. Thanks for the information.

Feb 10, 2012 04:32 AM #19
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


Thanks for some good info. There are quite a few older that still have fuse boxes especially in the City of Napa. 

Feb 10, 2012 04:37 AM #20
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Electrical Panels with fuses were common in my first incarnation in Real Estate, but I think I have seen a total of three this time around... they are getting rare in New Tecumseth.


Feb 10, 2012 08:42 AM #21
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Michael,

Boy when it comes to electrical panels with fuses I can't say I have dealth with them. Most all homes I sell are newer. Labeling is a must! Great advice as always Michael.

Feb 10, 2012 06:49 PM #22
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Good topic Michael, up our way if the house has an old fuse box the insurance companies want it updated.  They will give the new owner 30 days after taking possession or cancel the insurance.

Feb 11, 2012 01:38 AM #23
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

I agree Michael, fuses are really a good circuit protection device. In fact they are probably better than breakers, but in our modern world convenience is always king. 

Feb 12, 2012 12:38 AM #24
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Michael Thornton 

I briefly lived in a home with a fuse box, and always had an extra supply on hand to switch them out when they would blow 

Aug 20, 2015 12:30 PM #25
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