Fuse Box Safety Basics

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Your landlord is responsible for maintaining the electrical outlets in your apartment, but you should know the basics of fuse boxsafety. That knowledge will protect you and your family, and you’ll know what to do in an emergency, when you don’t have time to contact your landlord before taking action.

Fuse Box Location

The first thing you need to know is where the fuse box is located in your apartment. They are often found in bedroom closets, or on the wall in hallways. The standard color of the door leading to the box is gray, but it can also be black. You should always have a flashlight handy in case a fuse is blown, and you need to quickly access the fuse box. Either have a flashlight next to the fuse box, or in another location where you can access it quickly.

Same Size Fuses

It’s important to replace the bad fuses with another one of the same size. Some people make the mistake of using a larger fuse, which creates too much electrical current. For lighting and outlet needs, you only need up to 20 amps. Other appliances may use 30 amps. The wrong sized fuse can start a fire when the outlets and wires are overloaded. It’s better to be in the dark at that point and get the right sized fuses when you can, or call the landlord.

Changing Fuses

The first thing you need to do before you change a fuse in a fuse box is to unplug all electronics and appliances. If you don’t, you may get an electrical shock. Don’t use anything other than a fuse, like a penny or other object of a similar size. It’s better to go without lights or electricity, then to risk starting a fire.

Don’t Stand in Water

There are many reasons why you might check a fuse box. Perhaps there’s a secondary problem in addition to the fuse getting blow, such as  a tenant above you leaked water into the room where the box is located. When you get any sense of water in the room, be very careful. If you stand in water while checking fuses, you’ll get a bad electrical shock. Know what’s happening in your surroundings, and be mindful of what you’re standing in. This is critical to fuse box safety.

Fuses That are not Labeled

Don’t touch any fuse that is not labeled. You can find out what goes with what in your fuse box, when everything is back to normal. You should wait until you contact your landlord, and resolve the issue. Ask them or the electrician they hire to label the fuses.

A constant problem with your fuse box is a safety issue that you should talk to your landlord about. Ask them to inspect it, and to have an electrician make the necessary repairs so that you’re protected. Your landlord has a duty to ensure safe electrical conditions in the apartment, so don’t be timid about asking your landlord to eliminate an electrical hazard.


One Response to “Fuse Box Safety Basics”

  1. September 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm, M said:

    So my landlord has the fuse boxes for his apartments in the basement. used to be in his office, but now his office is his son’s apartment. He would never give us access to them, even when our fridge fuse blew and we waited 4+ hours for someone to come and fix it.

    now his son lives in that room.

    Is it legal for him to deny us access, must access be grantd 24/7 and must someone always be available (meaning onsite at all times) to give us access or flip the switch?


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