older homes, bad wiring


Old 07-18-05, 02:13 PM
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older homes, bad wiring

I rent in an older home with a un attentive landlady.
The wiring is pretty bad, most rooms are on one circuit (not to mention having only 1 maybe 2 outlets per room). Technology being what it is, there is alot of stuff plugged into each outlet. The breaker trips alot, especially now that its summer and the AC is on more often.
WE try to be diligent about it, not having much on or plugged in; but its hard b/c 3 or 4 rooms are all on the same circuit.
Is there anything we can do to help this? I am an apprentice carpenter and pretty handy but i couldnt rewire the whole house. I could replace switches or outlets though. does the fact that most outlets are 2 prong have anything to do with it? would switching them to newer 3 prong ones help?
Also, our landlady likes to pretend we dont exist, and i doubt she'd help us in any way.
But this can't be safe, and its definitly frustrating.
What can i do?!
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Old 07-18-05, 02:28 PM
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given that all your outlets are 2 prong, and not the traditional 3 prong grounded outlets, i'd say that the home really needs to be renovated/remodeled. though it's not an acceptable practice, you could switch the fuse/breaker from a 20 amp to a 30 amp. The code says that #12 copper is good for 30 amps, but it also states that #12 has to be fused for overcurrent protection at 20 amps. It's one of those gray areas that some people agree on and some people don't. I've personally see #12 carry close to 60 amps for an extremely long period of time with the wire barely getting warm. Of course 60 amps is pushing it, and i'd never let that happen, but if you're just barely over the 20 amp mark, changing your breaker/fuse to 30 amps probably wouldn't hurt. The fuse/breaker would still trip/blow if you had a short.
Old 07-18-05, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Do not under any circumstances swap any fuses or circuit breakers. This is a serious safety issue and could cause a fire. Eggrolls advice is way off base and should be ignored.

Since this is a rental unit, you can and should do nothing. Nothing, except complain to the landlord. Nothing means nothing. Don't replace fuses, don't reset breakers, don't swap receptacles or switches for new ones nothing.

While you can reset breakers and replace fuses, I wouldn't do so unless it's your refrigerator and you don;t want the food to spoil. I would call the landlady every time you get a trip and make her fix it. If she doesn't in a reasonable amount of time, call an electrician and have him or her reset the breaker or replace the fuse. Then submit the bill as part of your rent payment. She'll get the message soon enough that the power is inadequate and do something about it.
Old 07-18-05, 08:17 PM
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I forgot to add to my post, that this would be a temporary fix until a permanent acceptible solution can be found. Though it can be considered wrong, anyone working in the field knows that this would work and is more common than you may think.
Old 07-19-05, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
It's not just wrong, it's insane. Even temporarily.

If you need a temporary fix, turn off the air conditioner. For a more lasting fix, move.

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