Want to track down problem with half of my old house wiring out

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by jteam, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Mar 12, 2013 #1

    jteam

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    Ok I have an older home with older wiring and a fuse box with buss and glass fuses in it, problem is while I was working out of town last summer my family decided to hook up a filter for an outdoor swimming pool they were given and when they plugged it in my garage it knocked out the power to the garage and the front room power in the house,while the remaining power stayed on in the kitchen,bathroom,and two bedrooms, I have replaced all the fuses in the electrical panel box and still have the problem.the wires from the garage go to the panel but also go up in the attic where it hooks into the outlets and lights for the front room so I am guessing it could have blown a wire up there. I plan on getting everything upgraded which is what I was going to do before I became layed off from my job and when I become employed financially again but for now I would like to be able to just restore half the house back to the way it was for now.I will take all advise like a man and look forward to your thoughts,Thanks.Joel.
     
  2. Mar 12, 2013 #2

    bud16415

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    Sounds like they blew one of your main fuses. If you have something like an old 60 amp service at the top there is mains on one side in a pull out block. Have you checked voltage at the panel between both legs of the 220 and ground. Each leg should be 110 volts. If the one leg is zero most likely that fuse is blown. You said you have replaced all the fuses but my thought is that you just changed the screw in fuses.
     
  3. Mar 12, 2013 #3

    nealtw

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    If you had fuses bigger than 15s, I would check as much wire and connections I could before replacing them and looking further.
     
  4. Mar 12, 2013 #4

    kok328

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    If your not comfortable entering the fuse panel, you can test voltage on any 240V appliance (i.e.- electric stove or dryer) and see if you have 120V hot to ground on each leg.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2013 #5

    jteam

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    Thanks for the answers to my post, the bids fuses have been replaced so since I like to take things in steps what suggestions for my next step in troubleshooting this problem should I take ?
     
  6. Mar 13, 2013 #6

    jteam

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    I meant buss fuses of course.
     
  7. Mar 13, 2013 #7

    jteam

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    I meant buss fuses of course I my last post
     
  8. Mar 13, 2013 #8

    nealtw

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    Buss fuses, the screw in ones?
    Do you have any 240 volt appliances, stove, dryer, hot water tanks? Do they work?
    Can you post a photo of the fuse box and related gear?
     
  9. Mar 13, 2013 #9

    Sparky723

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    I second Neal. Pics would be nice
     
  10. Mar 13, 2013 #10

    bud16415

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    Yes a photo would be a good starting point having verified you do have both legs up and running. The suggestion of checking at a 220 outlet if you have a fear of poking around inside the box is good, but on the other hand if you don’t feel comfortable with a meter and using it calling in a pro is a good idea. The question of is your 220 appliances working is an excellent clue also given they are connected into the main fuse box. In a lot of these older houses it was common as demand grew to add a second 220 box off the meter for just a dryer or something. In that case the dryer could still work fine having lost one leg. Are you sure you don’t have a sub panel with fuses or breakers in the garage that someone tapped into for the front room. That would be my only guess.

    If the pool pump was shorted the draw would be much higher than what the pump is rated at and its unlikely you burned up wires unless someone had upsized the fuses somewhere along the line. I would rule out that there isn’t a secondary fuse someplace controlling the garage and feeding back to the front room.
     
  11. Mar 14, 2013 #11

    jteam

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    So far The main fuse box and I can only find one anywhere both in the garage or any other location,it has a main 240 with 60 amp cartridge fuses in it and the same thing for the range they both sit side by side. There are four screw in type 30 amp fuses just below where these set, very small home so these suffice.and I have replaced every one of them,all appliances work.the garage has a light switch, one outlet,on the same wall and directly on the other side of the wall in what we call the washroom is another outlet, all of these do not work including the garage door opener.i can see where a wire runs from the wall in the garage up into the attic,I am guessing that it drops down to the front room which has two outlets and a light that do not work. The rest of the washroom, kitchen,two bedrooms, bathroom ,storage food pantry room , hall light all electrical works in those.thanks again for trying to help.
     
  12. Mar 14, 2013 #12

    JoeD

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    30 amp fuses are too large for your general receptacles and lighting. If these are for your receptacles and lighting then your circuits are overloaded and you need a major electrical upgrade. Could be something has burnt up from overloading.
     
  13. Mar 14, 2013 #13

    Sparky723

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    I agree. Even if all was working, your setup is very old. Cartridge and glass fuses? Yuk. It's time to upgrade and get safe. Since its a little house, you could probably have whole house done for $1000-$1,500. That why you would have all of the problems and rising safety issues.
     
  14. Mar 14, 2013 #14

    bud16415

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    With 60 amp service the lower screw in fuses should be 15 amp each. That was the major problem with these old setups the homeowner would keep upping fuse sizes and adding load. The wires are not sized for those current draws though. Now that we know this you could well have taken a wire out when the pump shorted. Let’s say you had some wire that could take 20 amps and it was connected to a 30 amp fuse the wire would go before the fuse. In your case the pump made the current go real high and blew a wire someplace. The worst case would have been if the load was high for the wire size but not enough to melt it. In that case it would just start heating slowly melting the insulation and maybe cause a short or just the heat causing a fire.

    Joe D is correct you need an upgrade and until then you need to put smaller fuses in the bottom and manage your load if you start popping fuses.

    Finding your problem you will have to get a volt meter or a tester and work your way out the circuit until you don’t get voltage. Start at the box and work your way to the garage. When you find the leg that’s broken you will have to replace that wire for now.

    If you haven’t done it before you should have the fuses marked as to what they power. Unscrew each one and have someone tell you what went out. One of the 4 is the garage that’s where you have to start.
     
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  15. Mar 14, 2013 #15

    bud16415

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    I agree upgrading would be in order. There really isn’t anything unsafe with glass fuses as long as people didn’t upsize them or put a penny in behind it when the fuse blew and they didn’t have a replacement fuse. A fuse is a very sure way to interrupt power albeit out of date. When your house was built or wired they felt 60 amps for a house was a huge amount of overkill all most people had was a radio and a few light bulbs. Now we have all kinds of power guzzling stuff and 200 amp is more the norm.

    Does yours look something like this?

    http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k246/bnegrelli/IMG_20110809_231004.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  16. Mar 14, 2013 #16

    nealtw

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    I agree with Joe, you may have burned down the house with this set up.
    Change the 4 fuses to 15 amp and let us know what lights don't work when you take each fuse out.:hide:
     
  17. Mar 14, 2013 #17

    nealtw

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    Guys: He has already said, he can't afford an upgrade right now. He likely has 2 fuses that are not being used.
     
  18. Mar 14, 2013 #18

    jteam

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    Yes the set up that Neil's picture post is the same as mine except that I have handles that allow me to pull the cartridge fuses out of the panel.
     
  19. Mar 14, 2013 #19

    bud16415

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    I don’t think he has fuses not being used. Normally fuses don’t get upsized unless there is a repeat overload. Sounds like he may have a line balance problem depending on what he does out in the garage and what in the house is on that circuit. 60 amps in a small house could be fine if he has gas hot water , dryer, stove, no AC etc. and has the rest of the house equal on the four 15 amp fuses. And one 220 appliance.

    With or without an upgrade he needs to find the problem and knowing now the fuses were sized double he has to dig into the walls or ceiling or wherever the open circuit will be. Once he gets the smaller fuses in place he may well find he’s blowing a fuse from time to time with too many things turned on at once.

    If he has to he can disconnect wires in junction boxes and ring them out once he narrows it down.
     
  20. Mar 14, 2013 #20

    CallMeVilla

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    OK, JTeam, you have received great advice here. I know, you just want your house to function until you can get the $$$ for a full upgrade. My sense is you may have blown a wire somewhere --- and probably escaped a fire by raw luck. You need to trace your power from the box to the rest of the house (particularly where there is no power) to find the break (interruption).

    A simple $15 device (picture below) and a lot of crawling in the attic can get you there.

    It beeps/lights in the presence of electricity on the hot side (not the neutral). BE CAREFUL not to touch anything except the probe to the wire. Check from the box first to see that every leg is powered. If so, locate each feed wire in the attic to see which ones are powered and follow the trace. At some point, the circuit will no longer respond. In that area, your break or burned connection will be located -- possibly in a junction box or receptacle. In an old house, sloppy people may not have used a j-box -- only splicing wires and using tape.

    Money well spent would be to get help doing this work. It might go faster and safer for you.

    TESTER.jpg
     
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