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An electrical appliance without a properly functioning fuse is a potential danger. Any fault, overload or incorrect use can risk electric shocks, fires or damage to the appliance itself.

Electrical fuses are designed to cut the juice whenever the current gets too high for any reason and are an important backup to the circuit breakers in your home's load center

What do you need to know before buying these vital safety components? Find out with help from the friendly experts at Ace Hardware. 

Choose the Correct Amp Rating 

The amp rating of a fuse tells you how much current it will allow to flow through it before blowing and cutting the supply. The higher the rating, the more it will take to blow the fuse. It's important to match the amp rating to the appliance correctly.

If the fuse amperage is too high, it won't offer full protection, potentially letting dangerous amounts of current flow. However, if it's too low, it'll often blow inconveniently under normal conditions.

For these reasons, always replace fuses with the original amp rating recommended by the device manufacturer. To cover every domestic or commercial situation, we stock fuses rated from 0.2 amps right up to 500 amps.

Tamper-Proof Fuses 

To help you select the right type of electrical fuse, some models come with a tamper-proof design. These fuses can only fit into a socket with the correct amp rating, making it impossible to use a wrong fuse.

Fuse Voltage 

The voltage rating of a fuse is an important backup safety feature. Even after a fuse blows on a high voltage circuit, it's possible that electrical arcing could complete the circuit again with dangerous results. It's therefore essential to choose a fuse with a voltage rating higher than the circuit it's used on to prevent this from happening.

For most homes, the correct rating would be either 125V or 250V, but for more demanding situations we also carry fuses rated up to 600V.

Fast-Acting or Time-Delay Fuses 

Fuses are available as either fast-acting fuses or time-delay types. In most circumstances, a fast-acting fuse is the type you need, as it will blow quickly before any trouble is caused. This offers the best protection for delicate electronics and minimizes shock risk.

However, in some situations, a dual-element fuse or time-delay fuse is the better choice. For example, some heavy power tools or large appliances use a lot of power when they're first turned on. Although start capacitors keep these surges as low as possible, a time-delay fuse can handle a brief surge without blowing but will still cut the supply if the current stays too high for too long.

Glass or Cartridge Fuses 

For most domestic or light commercial appliances, glass-cased fuses are used and fit directly into the appliance's plug. However, for more powerful devices such as HVAC systems or for higher-rated commercial systems, cartridge fuses fitted to the device itself are tougher and can cope with higher amp and voltage loads.

Choosing carefully between the different kinds of fuses is essential to get the right balance of safety and convenience. If you need any advice when shopping for a start capacitor, dual-element fuse or any other electrical hardware, please contact us online or call into your local Ace store and our expert staff will be happy to help.