Using the wrong fuse can be dangerous and cause a circuit breaker to ‘trip’. You should use the following fuses for your electrical appliances.

  • Use a 3-amp fuse for lamps, radios, clocks, stereos and computers.
  • Use a 5-amp fuse for irons, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, TVs, videos, fridges, electric drills and food mixers.
  • Use a 13-amp fuse for electric fires, toasters, kettles, washing machines, freezers and fridge-freezers.

Resetting a trip switch

Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If a fault develops, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken.

All of the fuses and trip switches are in the consumer unit. The consumer unit may be next to the electricity meter (unless the meter is outside in a cupboard).

Trip switches usually trip for one of these reasons:

  • a circuit has been overloaded
  • an appliance is faulty or misused
  • leads to appliances such as TVs, hairdryers and hi-fi equipment have become worn
  • equipment has faulty connections
  • water has leaked into the circuit
  • light bulbs have blown
  • immersion heaters are faulty.

If an appliance is faulty, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it.

Make sure your hands are dry before you touch electrical appliances, sockets or light fittings. Never tamper with the electricity company’s fuse and seals.

To reset the trip-switch

  • Open the consumer unit to expose the trip switches
  • Check which switches have tripped to the OFF position
  • Pull these switches back onto the ON position

If the trip switch goes again, it is probably being caused by a faulty appliance (this is often a kettle).

You need to see which circuit is being affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem.

To find the faulty appliance

  • Check all the rooms in the house and see which set of lights or sockets is not working
  • Unplug all appliances on the problem circuit and switch off the immersion heater
  • Switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the ON position
  • Plug in appliances one at a time
  • Do not use double adaptors when testing appliances. Test one appliance in each socket until the trip goes.