need help with new breaker box

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  #1  
Old 11-05-04, 01:22 PM
protow
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need help with new breaker box

hello all and thanks for the help..


my 1st ? is i have the old style glass fuses in my house and i have a new breaker box .....lol how do i get the power shut off to the old box
and or would i just run a new lead from the old box to the new box?
i have done wiring before but never put in a new breaker box

lol can i just take the meter out?

any help would be grat thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 11-05-04, 03:23 PM
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sounds like your existing service is pretty old. Most of the time if the electric company pulls the meter on a service that old (probably not more than 60A), they will not put a meter back in until the entire service is upgraded. More than likely you will have to pull new service entrance conductors, run a bigger conduit riser, etc. This is not a small project. I would suggest that you look into having an electrician perform the upgrade. There is a very steep learning curve on services and many pitfalls. Remember, if you make a mistake or don't do it right, the electric company will not turn your power back on. Soooo no lights. Just my two cents.
 
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Old 11-05-04, 04:13 PM
protow
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Talking

thanks for the info......
 
  #4  
Old 11-07-04, 07:20 PM
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Iagree with Scott call a pro in, he'll have the service up in no time
 
  #5  
Old 11-08-04, 10:15 AM
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I did this to my home. I am not an electrician but have been doing electrical work most of my life and have a 2 year EE degree. I also work with the NEC every day as an electrical designer. Knowing the materials, tools and code, I felt comfortable doing this myself.

Ordinarily, fuse boxes are 60 amps, fed from the point where your utility attaches their wire to your house, you have 60 amp wire running down to the meter. Which is probably in your basement. Scott E. is right, the utility will be happy to pull your meter, but they won't re-connect you unless you (a) move your meter outdoors, at your expense, and (b) provide them with a certificate of inspection proving that your installation was inspected and passed all codes.

NEC minimum service size is now 100 amps. (I went with 150) That means your 60 amp service entrance cable will need to be replaced for sure. That's a lot of work in itself.

Although I am an experienced electrical guy, I can tell you that this was a pretty big project, though. It took all my spare time for about 3 weeks, I had to apply for a permit, inspection, utility service request, and shop for the materials. It cost me almost $900 in materials, and my labor was free. Interestingly, at the same time my brother called an electrician, who did all the legwork (permit, inspection, utility service request, shopping), did the installation in one day and handed my brother a bill for about $1000. He said it was the best $1000 he ever spent. Except for pride of workmanship, I think I would have hired an electrician.

If you still want to pursue this, first you will want to call your local code enforcment office or city/town hall, and ask if they allow homeowners to do their own electrical work. My local village does, but many do not. If you are not allowed, the rest of this discussion is moot - call the electrician.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #6  
Old 11-08-04, 05:59 PM
Rollins
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Add on to this tread.

I also have the old fuse system. I'm not totally sure if what you said here pertained to my system also. I will try to insert a pic. My question would be does my system relate to the above posts?


Well as I look around I don't see where I can insert a pic. Is that possible?
 
  #7  
Old 11-09-04, 06:16 AM
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Rollins,

No problem with the pic. I can visualize several styles, as I have seen probably nearly 100 of them in my travels.

It is not an absolute rule, but most homes with fuse boxes are 60 amp services. Typically they are set up with four round glass fuses that have provisions (screw terminals) to accomodate two circuits on each fuse. That's eight 120v circuits. The also have two rectangular plug-in cartridge fuse blocks. The one on the left is the main disconnect for the house, the one on the right is labeled "range". That is a classic 60 amp service. Some larger homes I've seen have eight or more fuses plus the two fuse blocks. These might be 100 amp services, but most aren't.

Fuse boxes were code compliant when they were installed. If you leave them alone they're legal. Insurance companies don't like them, though, and for homeowners they are sometimes a pain, especially when you're out of spare fuses and the lights go out late at night when Home Depot is closed! They also cannot accomodate enough circuits for a modern home, with all the fancy new kitchen appliances, computers, home electronics, etc. Generally these things are all plugged into one or two receptacle and lighting circuits, and when the family is in full swing you're blowing fuses.

One thing I always like to say at this point: Older homes with fuse boxes are usually wired originally with "knob & tube" or the old two-conductor black cloth wrapped "romex". These are nearly always #14 guage wire, which is rated for 15 amps max. Many homeowners up the fuses to 20 amp or even 30 amp to stop the fuses from blowing. When you force a wire to draw more amps than it is rated for the wire heats up and this causes fires. I always recommend that 15 amp fuses are the largest ones you put in your box.

I hope that answers some of your questions. If you have anymore I'll be glad to stop back in and chat.

Juice
 
  #8  
Old 11-09-04, 06:23 AM
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Several comments:

Although many fuse services are 60 amps, thw wiring from the pole to the meter is often rated for 100 amps. This is because the wiring has been upodated by the utility (including in the county that juice is from).

Also, don't assume that all circuits are 15 amp circuits. Even in the 40s and 50s, 20 amp circuits were usd for kitchens, along with grounded circuits in that same room.

It's best to do (or have done) a thorough inspection so that you know what you have to start with.
 
  #9  
Old 11-09-04, 07:13 AM
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Racraft,

You are familiar with Onondaga County, NY? What are the odds of that?

I was, of course, speaking in general terms. Not all fuse boxes are 60 amps, not all S.E. cable is 60 amps, and not all home wiring is 15 amp rated (#14).

I should have said that if any homeowner wants to up their fuses from 15 amps to 20, a careful inspection by someone who is knowledgable in electrical work should inspect that circuit to make sure that all of the wiring on that circuit is #12 AWG (20 amp) and that none of the wiring on that circuit is #14. If any of the wire on a circuit is #14 you can't exceed a 15 amp fuse.

By "older homes" I was referring to homes built in the late 1800's. I am aware of the post-WWII housing boom and the proliferation of many new, modern kitchen appliances taking the country by a storm, hence 20 amp circuits, especially in the kitchen, became more and more common. It's funny, my last house was built in the 1870's, and the home I live in now was built around 1900. I sort of consider homes built in the 40's & 50's to be newer homes! All a matter or perspective, I guess.

Now, I'll tell you where I got my impression of what is a "typical" fused installation in an "older home". As an electrical designer at an engineering firm I had a project just a couple years ago which entailed inspecting the electrical systems in older homes in a neighborhood in Syracuse. I personally inspected more than 80 homes over about a 3 month period. Except in cases where the homeowner had a service upgrade, most of these homes had 60 amp fuse boxes and old, cloth covered 60 amp S.E. cable from the weatherhead at the roof peak all the way down to the meter. I am not aware of any instance where Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., our local utility, would or has ever replaced a customer-owned length of wire. (I am curious where you got this information.) Most of these homes also had at least some knob & tube or black cloth-covered romex. Most of these homes had upped at least some of their fuses to at least 20 amps on circuits that were clearly wired with #14 wire.

That is why I am always concerned that people stick with 15 amp fuses unless they are absolutely sure there is no #14 wire present anywhere on that circuit.

Juice
 
  #10  
Old 11-10-04, 07:36 PM
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In Pa & N.J before a house with fuses can be sold it must be upgraded to breakers no questions asked.Same goes if there are breakers in the house but the S.E cable is severely deteriorated or if there are more than six switched circuits in a service panel w/o a mainbreaker.
 
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