how do I know what the amp-age is?

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  #1  
Old 11-04-05, 07:48 AM
wingit
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how do I know what the amp-age is?

Hi,
I have some people interested in buying my nice older house that Dad built in 1953 and for some reason they think the amp service is 60 amps. I don't think it is, but I don't know how to tell. The fuse box down cellar has regular 'old' style screw in little fuses for different lights and appliances. The overall fuse thing that you'd pull out in some emergency has two of those longer round sort of fuses that look like shot gun shells.
Everything in my house works fine, all the lights, the outlets, the appliances, my stereo, my computer. It can't be a 60 amp service, right?? Can you explain to me how I can determine what the real amp service is???
Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!! Wingit.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-04-05, 08:01 AM
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The essential question is this--- What is the ampacity ( amps-rating ) of the Service Entrance Conductors ? 60 amps.?


The SEC's are the conductors that connect the house to the utility company's conductors, the POCO's conductors most likely in the "form" of an overhead "aerial" cable between the house and the utlility pole.

60 amp SEC's , #6 copper conductors, are not unusual for fuse-style Service equiptment, and a '53 house. May be best to hire an electrician to verify this.

Good Luck, & Learn & Enjoy from the Experience!!!!!
 
  #3  
Old 11-04-05, 08:52 AM
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A 60A fused service was very common for a house built in 1953; I would bet that is actually what you have.

If you feel comfortable working in the panel box, you need to examine the entrance wires that feed the panel to determine their size. If they are #6, then you have a 60A service.
 
  #4  
Old 11-04-05, 09:33 AM
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The way tell for sure is to look at the number on those fuses in the main disconnect. Don't add them together. Two 60 amp fuses is a 60 amp service. Hopefully no one installed larger fuses without properly upgrading the service.
 
  #5  
Old 11-04-05, 10:07 AM
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I would change Joed's wording slightly. The only way to know with certainty the size of the service is to carefully examine everything from the service head wires to the meter to the main service panel.

Looking at the size of the fuses is a very good indication of what the service size is, and probably the simplest thing that a non-electrician can check. It is possible for someone to put the wrong fuses in, thus this is _not_ an absolute answer to 'what size is the service'.

60A service is just fine if you don't have central air conditioning and have gas or oil for all of your heating appliances. 60A is 14,400 watts available to you, and more than enough for lights/computers/small appliances/etc. You only really need more if you have large fixed appliances, heat being the killer. We have a 100000 BTU tankless water heater that uses natural gas. If it were electric, it would need 120A all by itself.

-Jon
 
  #6  
Old 11-04-05, 05:35 PM
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Only problem with 60 amp service is insurance. You will have a very hard time finding an insurance company that will cover you with a 60 amp service.
 
  #7  
Old 11-04-05, 09:58 PM
cptkinguru
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An upgrade to a modern service is money well spent when it comes time for a sale. Insurance companies don't like fuses, fuse boxes are almost always on the home inspection reports I see, and the new buyers will try to beat you up on price if you don't do it.
 
  #8  
Old 11-05-05, 06:37 AM
mikiej52
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Originally Posted by wingit
Hi,
I have some people interested in buying my nice older house that Dad built in 1953 and for some reason they think the amp service is 60 amps. I don't think it is, but I don't know how to tell. The fuse box down cellar has regular 'old' style screw in little fuses for different lights and appliances. The overall fuse thing that you'd pull out in some emergency has two of those longer round sort of fuses that look like shot gun shells.
Everything in my house works fine, all the lights, the outlets, the appliances, my stereo, my computer. It can't be a 60 amp service, right?? Can you explain to me how I can determine what the real amp service is???
Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!! Wingit.
Sounds like your service is a 60 amperage service. The 2 longer fuses you refer too that look like gun shells are called cartridge fuses. They have an amp rating on the side of them when they are new. They sometimes lose the paper identifiers showing the amperage rating on them.
Most new homes are required to have a minimum of 150 -200 amp service depending on the house size and square footage. The screw in type fuses you refer too are called plug fuses and are rated anywhere from 15-30 amps each. Some are called one time fuses and others are called slow blo that are usually used on motor loads such as a/c and heating units.
I hope this has been helpful to you.
Mike
 
  #9  
Old 11-05-05, 11:09 AM
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They do make larger cartridge fuses. IMG aboce 60, they will be a bit bigger and have blades on the end.
 
  #10  
Old 11-05-05, 06:15 PM
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Not true. I my house the main disconnect has two 100 amp cartridges that do not have blades on the end.
 
  #11  
Old 11-05-05, 06:22 PM
wingit
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Hi you guys,
I just want to thank you all for your replies...they're all helpful to me. I'm not an electrician so the more I read, the more I learn about it.
I've discovered that the two large cartridge fuses in the main emergency pull out box are each 100 amps. I thought that meant I had a 200 amp service, but now I think it means I have a 100 amp service, right? I suppose too that the fuse box should all be 'breakers' instead of fuses, but I don't really see the point since it has worked just fine for 55 years or so. I'll have to try to get my evasive electrician over here to tell me what's what for sure...which is why I was asking you guys first, because you guys call back, and he doesn't. Thank you for your help.
 
  #12  
Old 11-05-05, 06:34 PM
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On your electrical service, each incoming line is fused, or both lines are protected by a 240 volt breaker. In your case each line is fused with a 100 amp fuse. This means you have 100 amp 240 volt service. The "240 volt" is usually left off, since very few houses are left that don't have 240 volt service. Hopefully the incoming service wires are rated for this.

Some insurance companies don't like to see fuse boxes and will require that a circuit breaker panel be installed. If so, they will usually give the new homeowner some period of time, say six months, to make the upgrade.

Functionally, circuit breakers and fuses provide the same service. The breaker trips or the fuse blows on an overload. The difference between the two is what happens next.

Circuit breakers can be reset. Fuses can't. They need to be replaced. Sometimes a homeowner will replace a fuse with whatever fuse they have around, which may be too large for the circuit. Sometimes a homeowner will intentionally use a larger fuse, to get around the problem. Even worse, sometimes a homeowner will bypass the fuse altogether, which is even worse than a fuse that is too large.

You are selling the house. You have to do nothing. When someone wants to buy the house, they can request that you do many things. They can request that you have a circuit breaker panel installed, they can request that you lower the price by some amount (usually related to the cost of having the changeover to a circuit breaker panel done by an electrician), or they can buy the house and make the change themselves. You can either work with them, or stand your ground. Your actions depend on how quickly you want to sell the house.

If I were you, I wouldn't offer anything. Wait for a prospective buyer to request something. You may want to get two or three estimates on installing a panel. This way you will know what it will cost, if you end up deciding to do it as part of the sale, or you can give the estimates to the new owner, or you can throw them away.
 
  #13  
Old 11-06-05, 05:27 AM
wingit
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Thankyou racraft! I think I might just do that...'do nothing' because if they buy the house and a fuse blows, and they pay attention and put in the right one then things will be fine. I've already lowered the price of the house by 60 thousand dollars, although they don't know that. I'm thinking that if they think they have to have a breaker box, then they can put one in. If they do buy this house, they will be getting the best built most solid detailed house in town because my father worked at the saw mill where he cut and planed all the boards himself to build the house, and then he built the house himself with one of his friends and he was a stickler for detail and doing things right. If he didn't have the right tool, he made one. So...I think I will just stand my ground and see what happens. Thanks again. Wingit.
 
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