To most of us, electricity is simply flicking a switch or turning a dial to light up a room, cook supper or get instant entertainment. We take it for granted — that is, until there’s a power failure and we have to scramble to find flashlights, candles and matches in the dark.
Making your home safe and comfortable takes a deeper understanding. Let’s start by remembering that the electricity we receive in our homes is part of a powerful, intricate system made up of power lines and generators. It generally enters our homes through power lines to a main switch at 120 to 240 volts. The main switch is clearly marked with an “on” and “off” position and controls all the power in the house.
All lighting or general use circuits in a home are protected by either “circuit breakers” in newer homes or fuses in older ones. You should always disconnect the power by moving the main switch to the “off” position when changing fuses or doing electrical work around the house. Never open the door of the main switch — if you sense something is wrong, call your electricity supplier.
The panel box or fuse box from the main switch is the one that splits the power into circuits that go into all the rooms in your home. If you overload a circuit, say by plugging too many things in, the fuse may blow or the circuit breaker may trip, stopping the flow of power to that particular area.
In the basement
If you’re looking for the breaker panels or fuse boxes in a home, you’ll usually find them in the basement. They require little if any maintenance. Fuse boxes require the right type and size of fuses. Overloading circuits could cause power loss, or even lead to a fire.
If you detect rust in the fuse box, or if a fuse repeatedly blows for no apparent reason, if there is overheating, discoloration of fuses or flickering lights, contact an electrician to solve the problem.
Look after your cords
Use electrical appliances carefully
Other safety tips
Source: Ontario Real Estate Association