replacing plug fuse

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by LeakingFaucet, May 25, 2014.

  1. May 25, 2014 #1

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

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    I have a circuit breaker that is fed by a fuse box that is fed by a power line from PG&E. Not sure why the previous homeowner kept the fuse box when installing the circuit breaker, but it's there.

    I'm looking to short the fuse box by replacing the plug fuses with shorts. I could run wires to skip the open circuit left by plug fuse socket. But to get something more clean, are there plug fuses that are essentially shorts?
     
  2. May 25, 2014 #2

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Dunno' what's code, but. . .
    very high amp fuses would act essentially like a short in your system but they may not fit mechanically, for good reason.

    The clearing time curves for fuses are different than the trip time curves for breakers so you are getting additional protection.
    On the other hand, the interrupting current rating for these fuses may be inadequate by now because the PoCo may have increased the short circuit current capability for their power grid.

    My panel can deliver about 11,000 Amps into a short circuit. It's not difficult to measure with just a wall oven, a 4-1/2 digit voltmeter and a calculator. Houses farther from the pole transformer should see less short circuit current.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  3. May 26, 2014 #3

    WyrTwister

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    Are you talking about screw in fuses or the round cylindrical fuses ?

    Do you have photos ?

    Have you been blowing these fuses , recently ? Is that why you wish to eliminate them ?

    If yhey have not been a problem , my advice is to not fix what is not broken .

    God bless
    Wyr
     
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  4. May 26, 2014 #4

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Except if PoCo has increased their short circuit current capability without telling anyone (Why alarm the public, etc., etc., ??) then the fuses may 'explode' instead of 'blowing'.

    The one circuit protection company I asked about this said they "don't know what will happen" if the interrupting current rating is exceeded, but I can't imagine that there are that many choices.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  5. Jun 30, 2014 #5

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

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    Been a while, but here's my setup. I have a fuse box that feeds the circuit breaker.

    setup.jpg
     
  6. Jun 30, 2014 #6

    nealtw

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    The only question is the size of wire between the two boxes. Two reasons he left it there 1. the wires are to small 2. he didn't have to pay for the meter to be pulled. You would expect him to put in fuses that match the wire either way. So I think you might be looking at a bigger problem.
     
  7. Jul 1, 2014 #7

    Blue Jay

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    That is a 30 amp fusetron no way it would carry a house. Could this be feeding a water heater or a heat pump? NO WAY would I try to bypass it, think it is time to call in a pro to check things out. Would be a lot cheeper that rebuilding the house!
     
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  8. Jul 1, 2014 #8

    beachguy005

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    You'll probably find that the fuse box was left to act as a main disconnect. Does your loadcenter that it's feeding have a main or is it just breakers?
     
  9. Jul 1, 2014 #9

    bud16415

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    I agree with Blue Jay. A 30 amp fuse setup would not even be used in a tiny apartment. I also agree with if you don’t have the understanding of what you have and what you have is working do not crowbar the fuses, rather get someone that can trace out what you have and explain it to you.

    In the photo they have everything whited out, I’m not sure what they didn’t want anyone to see. That box above looks like it feeds the fuse box but it’s hard to tell at the angle the photo was taken. Where does the conduit leaving the fuse box go and what is the thing above it. Is that the meter they talked about. Could that meter be a time of day meter maybe controlling just one device like a water heater.

    Again DO NOT short out fuses ever. DO NOT put fuses in that are oversized for what is down line. If there truly is a down line breaker off that fuse box the fuses are not hurting a thing IMO.
     
  10. Jul 1, 2014 #10

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

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    Pretty sure I have 10 AWG wire coming from the street. Would have to go home and measure the core wire.

    I white out the account info. That does you no good.

    The line comes from the street, under my lawn, into my garage via a pipe and up to the fuse box that you see. Then it takes a turn and heads towards the exterior wall (the red wire is where it feeds from the fuse box), up the wall, and then down the wall to the circuit breaker you see in the back.

    I was told that shorting the fuse box does no harm because any spikes will trip the circuit breaker. In case of a fire (or other emergency where the fire department is coming), they're going to a take an axe through all the switches in the circuit breaker anyhow.
     
  11. Jul 1, 2014 #11

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Can you take a photo of the breaker box with the door open. The idea of main fuses or main breakers is they control the sum of all the individual breaker loads when combined. What you have then is a 60 amp circuit to your house. The questions are then do you have main breakers on the breaker panel and what is wrong with having belt and suspenders as to protection.

    You never said I don’t believe what it is about the fuses you didn’t like or why you want to take them out of the circuit.

    As a side note the fuses now protect you from the point where the power enters your house to the location of the breaker panel. If that wire were to become damaged you would have full power into your house from back on the pole where there should be some really major fuses.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  12. Jul 3, 2014 #12

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

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    There is no main breaker in the breaker panel.

    I want to take the fuse box out of the equation because I don't want to routinely replace fuses. I started blowing fuses one day and it became a hassle to replace them. I prefer to have the breaker trip, which can be reset, vs having to buy and install a one time use fuse.

    IMG_3288.jpg
     
  13. Jul 3, 2014 #13

    nealtw

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    Apply for a permit, they will let you now in short order what should be done.
    No one here should agree to anything that could put you, your family , your house and your insurance in danger.
    You obviously need more than a thirty amp service but why did some one set it up that way. And if we think he didn't know any better, that just brings up more questions on what else he has done.
     
  14. Jul 3, 2014 #14

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    That is even more reason to not crowbar those fuses. The wire coming into your house way back when was sized to be a 60 amp circuit. That was common back in the day when no one had much use for electricity past one light bulb in each room and a radio sitting in the living room and a new invention called a fridge in the kitchen. Now we suck power in many more ways and home services are 200 amp.

    The idea of a main is it protects everything and the power coming in is not to exceed what the main will allow. Just because you can add all those individual breakers up and get some high number that doesn’t mean your house feed will handle that. Once the sum of whatever is running gets to 30 amps on one of the two legs feeding your house you need to blow that fuse or risk melting wires and burning your house down.

    What you really need is a new service installed with a new panel that has a main breaker built in and sized to your requirements.

    On edit:

    To try and explain this another way it’s like you have a supply line for your water coming into your house that is ¼ inch and right after it enters the house you tee it off into twelve, ¾ inch pipes and expect each of those pipes to flow full streams of water. I think you can see they would just trickle.

    The difference is with electricity it will keep trying to supply the demand and unlike water will not be self-regulating the power supply at the pole is massive and will cram power into a wire to supply the demand until something gives. In your case what is giving is the fuses if the fuses are not there the thing that will give is the wire. Wires have resistance and resistance produces heat and heat causes fire. The idea behind it all is to stay within the safe limits of the wire, and in your case that’s 30 amps per wire coming into your house. Your oven alone is on a 30 amp breaker. So you have to update or you have to learn to manage your power requirements. Updating is the correct thing to do and have it done to code and inspected. The absolute wrong thing to do is to jumper the only thing that’s protecting you now.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  15. Jul 3, 2014 #15

    LeakingFaucet

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    Thanks for the info. Ok, guess looks like it's going to be a contracted/major infrastructure upgrade. Hmm, maybe time to move. But my take away is that this isn't a simple "short the box" fix isn't the way to go.
     
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  16. Jul 3, 2014 #16

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I don’t know what it’s like in San Francisco (although I suspect it’s the same or more strict than here). I spent last weekend helping a friend make updates required to sell his house in the Cleveland Ohio area. He had only lived there 3 years and had a home inspection done prior to him buying the house. It was a pretty quick sale with the contingency of a home inspection by the buyer and one by the financing office and another by the town of Cleveland. The stuff that was on the lists was unbelievable. All items that were not an issue 3 years before.

    I don’t know how long you have owned your home but my guess is to sell it the electrical service would have to be updated. If not and provisions were made to sell “as is” you will be taking a big hit for unknown items.

    We bought an “as is” short sale house last year from a bank and they didn’t want to mess around with trying to maximize their profits or in this case minimize their losses. They could have easily spent 20k and increased the selling price by 50k. I would say bite the bullet and do it right now and have the benefits all along and sell when you are ready to and when the market is right.
     
  17. Jul 3, 2014 #17

    LeakingFaucet

    LeakingFaucet

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    The market is pretty nuts here. The seller holds the most power as all types of buyers are coming in: all cash, no contingency, etc. I got lucky where most of my stuff was ok. The home inspector did note that the fuse rating is low by current standards, but par for my block. I guess I'm going to chalk this up as "nice to have" for now.
     

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