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What is an Electrical Fuse Box?

An electrical fuse box is a unit that houses and manages fuses that protect an electrical installation. It functions as a central hub where electricity from the utility company is distributed to various circuits throughout a property. Nowadays, a fuse box is called a switchboard as we use circuit breakers and RCD’s instead of fuses. 

Given its important role, regular maintenance and checks of an electrical fuse box are essential to ensure electrical safety and efficiency.

In this post, we’ll discuss the role of an electrical fuse box and its main parts.

What is the Role of an Electrical Fuse Box or Switchboard?

The role of an electrical fuse box or switchboard is to safeguard an electrical system by preventing overcurrent, which can lead to issues such as damage or fire. This is accomplished by housing fuses that are specifically designed to interrupt the power flow when an excessive current is detected.

In addition to its primary function, an electrical fuse box plays several key roles in the management of a building’s electrical system. These include the following:

  • Electricity distribution: It distributes electricity from the main supply to various circuits within the building.
  • Circuit segmentation: Each circuit protection – a circuit breaker or RCD – is connected to a different circuit, catering to specific areas or appliances. This segmentation allows for targeted protection, ensuring that only the circuit experiencing an overload is affected.
  • Safety assurance: The fuse box interrupts power during overloads to prevent electrical hazards.
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance: The fuse box layout aids electricians in quickly identifying and resolving issues in individual circuits.
  • Operational continuity: In case of a circuit overload, unaffected circuits remain operational, ensuring continuity of power supply to other parts of the building.

3 Main Parts of a Fuse Box

The 3 main parts of a fuse box are the main switch, switchboard, and circuit breakers. Let’s take a closer look at each component below:

Main Switch

The main switch in a fuse box is a crucial component that controls the power supply to the entire electrical system of a property. This part has the capability to completely disconnect the electrical supply, allowing for safe maintenance and emergency cut-offs in case of an electrical hazard. It is typically a large switch located at the top or centre of the fuse box and is easily accessible.


The switchboard is the central part of the fuse box, functioning as the interface for all electrical circuits in the property. It comprises various components such as circuit breakers, RCDs (Residual Current Devices), and busbars.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are key components in a fuse box designed to interrupt power flow in a circuit automatically in the event of an overload or short circuit. These devices replace the traditional fuse and are resettable, making them more convenient and cost-effective.

How Will I Know If I Need a New Fuse Box?

You will know if you need a new fuse box when signs such as regular fuse blowouts, tripping circuit breakers, or an absence of RCDs become evident.

Additionally, if your fuse box is outdated, shows signs of damage or overheating, or cannot support your current electrical demands, it may be time for a new replacement.

Is a Fuse Box and a Switchboard the Same?

Yes, ‘fuse box’ is a term used where fuses were used to protect the electrical installation. Nowadays we use circuit breakers and RCDs and refer to fuse boxes as switchboards. 

A fuse box would primarily use fuses for circuit protection, while a modern switchboard is equipped with circuit breakers and RCDs.