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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

What to do if your fuse box trips?

Publicado el (EN) 23 Mayo 2017
Qué hacer si saltan los plomos

The electricity has gone off. The fuse has tripped. The differential fuse has tripped. Call it what you want, but you have been left in the dark. Don’t panic. We will explain what to do, whether your meter is a smart one or an old-school meter.

Bang! Suddenly you are in darkness while making the bed or hoovering. Your fuse has tripped and you have been left in semi-darkness. Do you know what to do?

I am sure you know what people used to do: go to the electrical panel in your house and check to see if the switch has tripped. If so, you would put it back up and the electricity would come back on, as if by magic. But times have changed.

Now fuses don’t trip.

The expression “trip the fuse” has gone out of fashion. That is when houses had little lead and ceramic bars. Every time there was a power overload, these little bars melted and had to be replaced.

The little bars were then replaced with fuses (which were easier to change when they melted) and then came the electrical panel with various levers. From then on they no longer broke each time there was a power overload. To get the electricity back on, all you had to do was put all the levers back on.

The aim of all these systems has always been the same: to protect you. Limiting the amount of power your home requires from the grid is the best way to protect your system.

Un caso claro de exceso de potencia

Now meters are smart

The device that measures how much electricity you use is called a meter They are being replaced throughout Spain and before 2019 they will all be smart. But, what kind of smart are we talking about?

The new meters send your data remotely. This means technicians no longer have to travel around the city taking readings. And que neither do you have to send us your reading (which also makes sense if you do not have a smart meter yet).

The new meters tell us how much electricity you use at any given time. The advantage is that you can access this information from you Customer Private Area. And you do not have to wait 1 or 2 months to see how much you have used. Now you can keep a close eye on your consumption.

Smart meters enable you to know how much electricity you are using every hour of every day.

How to get your electricity back on

If you don't have a smart meter yet, it is only a matter of time before you do. The distribution company will contact you to replace it and it will then be integrated into the remote management system i.e. data will be sent remotely).

If you still don't have a smart meter and you keep tripping the fuse, you will have to resort to the old solution: go to the electrical panel (normally by the front door) and lift up all the little levers.

If you do have a smart meter, things are different... but not very different. Now it is called resetting the meter:

  • A) Check that all the switches are up in the electrical panel.
  • B) Disconnect some electrical appliances and put the main switch down.
  • C) Wait between 5 and 10 seconds (what it takes to sing "Happy Birthday").
  • D) Put the main switch back up again.

Now you have electricity! If it goes off again straight away, it means that you have not eliminated the power overload in your house… so switch off a few more appliances and try again.

Flexo

Why do the fuses trip?

You house is prepared for your contracted power. There is probably some margin to increase or decrease it and if you decide to do so, the distribution company will make sure you home is still prepared.

But your current power only goes so far. When you switch on too many electrical appliances at once, you may exceed you limit. That is when you will trip the fuse, the main switch will go down and you will be left in the dark.

A typical case is if you have the air conditioning on at the same time as the electric oven and then you put the washing machine on and bang! Darkness! That is why you have to switch something off before resetting the meter. If you leave everything on, the electricity will come back on, but it will soon go again.

How much power do you need for peace of mind? A simple way of knowing is: if you never trip the fuse, you have enough power (and you could even drop it to save money on your bills); if it frequently trips, you don't have enough power (and you could increase it for convenience purposes... although your bill will feel it).

In any event, changing power is a complex process that should not be done haphazardly. Before making the decision you should seek full information: