Fuses v. Circuit Breakers: What’s the Difference?

For many homeowners, it can be confusing when they hear electricians talk about a fuse versus a circuit breaker. Both fuses and circuit breakers are designed to keep buildings safe by interrupting the flow of electricity when a given circuit becomes overloaded. Both fuses and circuit breakers are located in a box called an electrical panel (though to make things even more confusing, this container is also sometimes called a circuit breaker panel or a fuse box.) Both fuses and circuit breakers can be manually reset, and both components are essential for protecting the safety of homes and businesses. However, there are many key differences between fuses and circuit breakers, too. Keep reading to learn what you need to know, about fuses and circuit breakers, and make sure to call CMC Service Experts for all the other electrical information you need.


Fuses come in a range of shapes and sizes. They are usually made from a filament and encased in glass, ceramic, or metal. The key difference between fuses and circuit breakers is that fuses can only be used once. When a circuit becomes overloaded, a fuse filament will melt in the process of shutting said circuit down. After that fuse has been blown out, it must be replaced. Although fuses can shut off an electrical system extremely quickly, their limited use has made them far less common in most buildings, and most homes and businesses built over the past 50 years or so are equipped with circuit breakers instead.

Circuit Breakers

A circuit breaker is either an electromagnetic or bi-metal switch located in your circuit panel. Your circuit breakers allow safe levels of electrical current to pass between terminals in your system, while the electromagnetic switch pulls a lever to stop unsafe levels of electricity in a specific circuit. Unlike fuses, circuit breakers can easily be reset. You will simply have to go to your electrical panel and flip the switch back to its original setting.

CMC Service Experts Has What Your Electrical Panel Needs

The next time you hear someone talking about “blowing a fuse” in conversation, you’ll now be able to explain the origin of the phrase—lucky you, looking so smart! In the meantime, make sure to call our skilled electricians for all your electrical panel needs. CMC Service Experts offers circuit breaker repair and maintenance, and can provide assistance for everything from frequent tripping to wiring issues. Remember, no matter what kind of electrical system you have, you’re always in good hands when you hire CMC Service Experts.

Call (919) 246-4798 to schedule same-day service, or click here to request information about available specials and financing.