Smoking can seriously damage your fuseboard

Smoking can seriously damage your fuseboard

By on Dec 15, 2013 in Safety | 0 comments

A CUSTOMER inquired about upgrading a circuit breaker because his heating was tripping out the electricity – in the interest of safety I refused to do it. I explained the only heat you will get is from the consumer unit going up in flames.

It is a dangerous and common misconception that a circuit breaker can be upgraded, that means replacing a circuit breaker with a higher rated one. It is probably brought about by builders, air conditioning fitters, plumbers, odd job men, and the like, looking to make a quick euro.

The most concerning aspect is that these guys unknowingly, or even knowingly, put your home at risk. It’s a quick fix solution that creates a fire hazard. The air con guy likes to use this solution when he overloads your lighting circuit.Plumbers like to wack in a larger breaker for power showers. Bob the Builder and the bloke down the pub… well, they haven’t got a Scooby Doo about the dangers of electricity.

sscigLet me tell you a story… When I was a boy, the main cartridge fuse next to the fuseboard under the stairs would regularly blow while Mum was cooking Sunday lunch. One time, my Dad took the silver paper out of his Senior Service cigarette packet, wrapped it round the blown fuse, and replaced the fuse holder. Thirty minutes later we had a fire under the stairs… a case of smoking can seriously damage your fuseboard!

Upgrading a circuit breaker creates exactly the same risk of fire as using silver paper from a cigarette packet

A circuit breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit. It does exactly the same job as a fuse. It protects the cable from overheating by disconnecting the supply before any serious damage is caused. It makes no difference whether you use the silver paper from a fag packet or a high rated circuit breaker.

If you do not allow a circuit breaker to function correctly by having the correct one fitted it can create a fire hazard. Never allow anybody to fit a circuit breaker that is rated higher than the cable can safely handle. Circuit breakers are made in various sizes and only a fully qualified electrician is trained to understand the maximum permissible rated circuit breaker for different sized cables.

A couple of hours spent wiring a dedicated heating circuit sorted out the problem for the customer. Be aware when buying powerful electric heaters that you may overload your electrical system.

If you need advise on the most efficient way to heat your home, contact us.

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