15 amp circuit breaker feeding fuse box

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  #1  
Old 05-11-04, 10:49 AM
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15 amp circuit breaker feeding fuse box

Situation: 100+ year old house. Some knob & tube wiring. I need to rerun some outlets and I found one outlet (knob & tube) going to a fuse box with 4 20 amp fuses and is fed by 1 15 amp circuit. What is going on? and how does this work?

Thanks in advance
 
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  #2  
Old 05-11-04, 11:20 AM
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The fuse box was either a subpanel or possibly even the main panel when the house was built. It probably had a 60 amp feeder, which was the industry standard at the time. When the service was changed, the 60 amp was removed, and the four original circuits were refed with one circuit from the new panel. As long as the load on the knob and tube fed receptacles that are fed from the old fuse box is minimal, you won't have a problem. You probably don't have more than 8 or 10 receptacles fed from the fuse box, which is about what a modern day 15A residential circuit would have. Just keep the loads to a minimum and you'll be fine (i.e. lamps, TV, clocks).
 
  #3  
Old 05-11-04, 12:26 PM
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Although the 4 fuses are fed by one 15amp fuse I would change the 4 20 amp fuses to 4 15 amp fuses.
Better yet consider replacing the entire circuit.
 
  #4  
Old 05-11-04, 12:50 PM
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Why? The whole "circuit" is protected by a 15 amp breaker. The wire coming off the 20A fuses are 12 AWG and rated for 20A anyway. Instead of replacing the fuses with 15A fuses, I would just splice the (4) output conductors to the input conductor (in essence turning the panel into a junction box), if I was going to do anything at all.
 
  #5  
Old 05-12-04, 06:38 AM
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If there's no problem, don't fix it. Although this is bizarre, there's no harm just leaving it as is.

But because this is so bizarre, you can't help but wonder if the original description is accurate (no offense intended, girlbuilder).
 
  #6  
Old 05-19-04, 06:30 PM
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bizarre

Thanks for all who responded.

This old house is nothing but bizarre. What looks like a poorly done add-on, is actually part of the original house. The wiring is a combination of knob & tube, armored cable, greenfield and now my addition of romex.
This is the upper half of a duplex, so it's not so easy getting new romex down to the basement, otherwise I would.
 
  #7  
Old 05-19-04, 06:46 PM
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Have you fully traced that Knob & Tube? Assuming the stuff is in decent shape there may be no reason to change it but I would make sure no one put in grounded outlets on that circuit. you don't want to be plugging into an outlet that you think is grounded when it really isn't.
 
  #8  
Old 05-19-04, 06:51 PM
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knob & tube

I shouldn't laugh, but thankfully most of the knob & tube is gone. I think there is one piece left and it's not connected to anything.
girlbuilder
 
  #9  
Old 05-19-04, 07:07 PM
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Wink

watch out people, girlbuilder is gettin' fiesty!

seriously though, that doesn't quite ad up. If there are four fuses with wires coming off of them...? If only one of them is actually hooked up then I would personally just loose the whole box, put in a junction box and just have that circuit protected by the breaker in the panel instead of all that nonsense with the fuse panel.
 
  #10  
Old 05-26-04, 07:55 PM
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20 amp fuses connected to 1 15 amp breaker

Actually, all four of the fuses are connected to knob & tube wiring. It's a rather unique design. This one 15 amp circuit operates all the overhead lights and a couple of outlets in the upstairs apartment. I'm thinking of asking the tenants only to use 25 watt bulbs!
Thanks for your reply

Girlbuilder
 
  #11  
Old 05-27-04, 09:04 AM
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Perhaps an arc-fault breaker would make sense on this circuit. It should provide some extra protection if the cloth starts breaking down. I have heard that you get a lot of nusaince tripping with them though. Perhaps they have improved them.
 
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