wiring upgrade question

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by casadeclarks, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Jan 28, 2010 #1

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

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    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
     
  2. Jan 28, 2010 #2

    travelover

    travelover

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    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.
     
  3. Jan 28, 2010 #3

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    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?
     
  4. Jan 29, 2010 #4

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

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    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
     
  5. Jan 29, 2010 #5

    locknut

    locknut

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    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.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2010 #6

    travelover

    travelover

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    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.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2010 #7

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    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.
     
  8. Jan 29, 2010 #8

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    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.
     
  9. Jan 29, 2010 #9

    locknut

    locknut

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    Dittos. A mere 15a line in a kitchen, particularly with a MW oven is not up to code and is dangerous and antiquated.
     
  10. Jan 29, 2010 #10

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  11. Jan 31, 2010 #11

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

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    Thanks for all the input here. OI think that I will end up just making each room on its on circuit and change the set up in the kitchen to have 2 individual circuits. This may be a bit overkill but oribably best in the long run. I will just have to spread it out a little over time. Thanks again.
    Robert
     
  12. Feb 1, 2010 #12

    ohmy

    ohmy

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    You do not have to upgrade the wiring but you should. Generally, here in Atlanta the inspectors require at least GFI devices and smoke detectors when you replace the panel. Replacing the panel does not fix the branch circuit problem that you have. You need more circuits in the house.
     
  13. Feb 2, 2010 #13

    SGC622

    SGC622

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    Here is my opinion on what you should do if you are doing all the work yourself(which i do not reccomend)
    -Change out the panel to most likely a 100amp service and when doing so do not go by the fuses when you are getting new breakers go by the size of the wires that you are pulling off of the old fuse panel. you want the right protection this time around.
    -If possible when adding the old circuits to the new panel if they are not long enough/or knob and tub, box them on the studs or in a convienent place near the panel and run a piece of romex to the panel from that box obviously connecting them together color to color in the box, making sure not to neglect connecting the ground.
    -if they are knob and tube strip a piece of romex sheath about 6 inches long and sleave it over each wire and individually bring them into the box with a connector and like above run a piece of romex from the box to the new panel. then once thats situated and everythings powered up back to the way it was. then run a new outlet to where the kitchen is or two if you feel like updating it the right way and add outlets, there you go you fixed the problem,

    if you go with a contractor, just tell him to do a service change and to add an outlet for the microwave. if he comes back at you with oh well the inspector wants me to update this and that and this, he may be trying to soak you for every penny your worth, at that point call up the electrical inspector for your town and tell him/her what you are having done at your house, and if what the electrician said is really required. and you know where to go from there.
     
  14. Feb 2, 2010 #14

    ohmy

    ohmy

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    Yeah...I totally agree!
     
  15. Feb 3, 2010 #15

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

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    Thanks again for the information. I had thought that it should be OK to use the existing wiring and just add additional circuits where needed. I will be doing this work myself and going next week to pull any needed permits.
     
  16. Feb 3, 2010 #16

    SGC622

    SGC622

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    i dont know about in your state but in massachusetts homeowners can pull electrical permits except for anything to do with the panel,meter(the service in general) so try and find that out before you draw attention to yourself with the inspector.
     
  17. Feb 3, 2010 #17

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    You could run addt'l circuits but run each all the way back to the panel rather than cascading them from existing junctions.
    That way you can add addt'l breakers if needed, later, and have the flexibility of apportioning the loads on each breaker.

    The average house draws 4A @ 240v continuously; it's the peak loads that call for 200A or higher service.

    Duly noted and recorded. :D
    Two against cord-lengthening, ~151 abstentions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  18. Feb 3, 2010 #18

    ohmy

    ohmy

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    Lol..............
     
  19. Feb 13, 2010 #19

    casadeclarks

    casadeclarks

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    why the "LOL"



    well I got real busy at work again this week. It was supposed to off but I got called in so I will have another slight wait till I get started on this project.
     
  20. Feb 13, 2010 #20

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    It's good practice to check each new circuit added before wiring the next one. At least check for voltage drop at ~10A to insure connection integrity for hot, neutral and ground.
     

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