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-   -   wiring upgrade question (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f9/wiring-upgrade-question-8505/)

casadeclarks 01-28-2010 10:59 AM

wiring upgrade question
 
Hello, I am new here and have a couple questions. Please excuse me if I am asking a dumb question. My house was built in the '50s and has a fuse panel with 4 of the old style glass fuses for the whole house (it's a 3 bd rm, 1 bath app 1000 sq ft w/ basement). I am getting tired of blowing the glass fuses every now and then. I want to replace the fuse box with a circuit breaker panel. I will be adding outlets and lighting to the basement as I add a couple walls and insulate it. Currently there are 3 outlets and 2 lights.
My question is not on the basement wiring but actually the main floor wiring. It is the cloth covered wiring with an external ground wire flowing throughout the house. Does the main floor wiring have to be upgraded when I do the circuit panel and basement wiring. I would like to possibly at some time split up the house and it's circuits, I know that there are some shared circuits but want to know if I have to do it right now. Thanks for any input that you may supply.
Robert

travelover 01-28-2010 11:13 AM

You could have the fuse box replaced with a service box with circuit breakers now and add additional circuits later. The electrician might even be able to break up some of the circuits now if multiple circuits are connected to a single fuse within the box. I don't think the cloth wrapped wire necessarily needs to be replaced, though I have found it often breaks down in overhead light fixtures from the heat of incandescent bulbs. Replacing the fuse box is really not a DIY job, but you should be able to run the additional circuits yourself.

Wuzzat? 01-28-2010 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by casadeclarks (Post 39700)
I am getting tired of blowing the glass fuses every now and then.

Figure out why they are blowing, i.e., the root cause, or you might have the same problem with the CBs.
The worst outcome is that you do an expensive replacement and the symptom is not changed, or actually gets worse.

You have #14 copper wire with 15A fuses?

casadeclarks 01-28-2010 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wuzzat? (Post 39705)
Figure out why they are blowing, i.e., the root cause, or you might have the same problem with the CBs.
The worst outcome is that you do an expensive replacement and the symptom is not changed, or actually gets worse.

You have #14 copper wire with 15A fuses?

Thanks for the reply,
The fuse that blows the most is the one 15 for the kitchen and dining room. It seems to happen more when the lights are on in the kitchen & dining room while using the microwave is in use and I have a small receiver so that my wife can listen to XM while cooking. I have plans on separating the kitchen, and dining room (outlets) and having a separate circuit for both room lights together. The wiring is 14 ga / 15 amps. Ideally I would like to separate each bedroom to be on its own circuit as well.
Another thing that I would like to do is have the service upgraded so that I can run a 220 circuit to a panel in the garage. Right now there is a shared line for 2 lights and a couple outlets, this fuse has also blown a couple times and I noticed that it is tied into other outlets in the house as well.
Robert

locknut 01-29-2010 05:19 AM

It's likely that after spreading your loads over the new panel, there'll be less near-overloading on the branches. It's a big job to replace all your wiring, but wherever practicable, it should be done.

travelover 01-29-2010 06:17 AM

This is a pretty common problem with the old 60 amp service. Back when it was built appliances were not so thirsty. In the interim, I think they still make circuit breakers that screw into the fuse positions. Don't use a larger circuit breaker than 15 amps.

Wuzzat? 01-29-2010 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by casadeclarks (Post 39712)
The fuse that blows the most is the one 15 for the kitchen and dining room.
while using the microwave

I think you have found the root cause.

One solution is to splice [by soldering] a long, heavy cord onto the microwave so you can power it off an outlet that is served by a breaker that is not running near full capacity, but that may be unsightly and only a temporary fix. Kitchens nowadays need some 20A, GFCI outlets.

Microwaves, irons, toasters and hair dryers all pull substantial current.

speedy petey 01-29-2010 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wuzzat? (Post 39748)
One solution is to splice [by soldering] a long, heavy cord onto the microwave so you can power it off an outlet that is served by a breaker that is not running near full capacity, but that may be unsightly and only a temporary fix.

Wow. Seriously?
IMHO this is really bad advice, even with the "temporary" part.

Running new circuits to the kitchen is the solution. I personally don't see a need for a temporary fix.

locknut 01-29-2010 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by speedy petey (Post 39763)
Running new circuits to the kitchen is the solution. I personally don't see a need for a temporary fix.

Dittos. A mere 15a line in a kitchen, particularly with a MW oven is not up to code and is dangerous and antiquated.

Wuzzat? 01-29-2010 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by speedy petey (Post 39763)
Seriously?

Verily, Milord. . .

I did this with an iron and a portable floor heater, for years now.
When the family room TV is on with the overhead floodlights and the iron, the CB would eventually trip. An outlet only 6 more feet away from the ironing board solved the problem.

With a soldered splice and heat shrink tubing there is a negligible decrease in safety and a negligible decrease in the tensile strength of the cord.
Cords for outdoor use and rough handling are a different story.

It's up to the [informed adult] OP to work out the costs/benefits of this option. All OPs know they can get an electrician, so that choice goes without saying.

BTW, if a sudden 10A load drops the voltage at the outlet by 3v, and it's 60' to the panel, his wiring and connections for this outlet are in good shape. Since the 120v varies a bit over time, you need to do this measurement a few times and average the answers.
And you already know the circuit protection is functioning.

The only reservation I would have is that I heard somewhere that the life of Romex is 50 years, but the person who said that could not define how anyone can tell when it has reached this end. Perhaps with a megger?
I don't know the lifetime of whatever wire is in the OPs house.


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