Old fuse box

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Old 01-10-06, 09:55 PM
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Old fuse box

I have an old fuse box that has two screw in 30 amp fuses and two 20 amp fuses. One of the 30 amp fuses controls the electric water heater. Recently it has been burning out about every week. What's the problem? Is there a difference in the glass fuses and the new delay fuses?
 
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Old 01-11-06, 03:12 AM
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If the fuses are the old Edison type fuses, you may want to consider changing them to the newer Fuestron or Fusestats. Presently, you could conceiveable put one of the 30 amp fuses in the 20 amp sockets, creating a fire hazard. The Fusestats come with a spring loaded adapter that screws into the socket, and remains there, limiting the size of fuse that can be installed. As far as your water heater, a time delay fuse is a good idea, but you may have an unusual draw down when the water heater comes on, especially if has just started. Certainly there are no more appliances attached to this circuit. Check the connections in the box to make sure they are tight, as a loose connection will cause heat. Check the conections in the top of the water heater to make sure they are not overheated. I have gone into water heaters, and found the b-caps totally melted due to improper or loose connection. Use caution, because my guess is all the wiring is cloth covered and will be very fragile.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 09:51 AM
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I believe you have a short to ground somewhere. If you don't see anything wrong in the wiring, I'd wager that the top element is bad. Have you noticed any decrease in the amount of available hot water (if so, I'll up my bet)? Also, if this is a standard 220V water heater, there should be another fuse somewhere. I've seen some "interesting" fuse configurations in these old boxes. It may share a cartridge fuse with a dryer or stove circuit. Either way, don't assume that pulling the one 30 amp fuse will disconnect all power to the water heater. Test with a non-contact "tick" tester before you touch anything.

Doug M.
 
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