How many amps? A quickie.....

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  #1  
Old 09-17-06, 05:59 PM
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How many amps? A quickie.....

Can a 2O cu ft refrigerator, a medium size washer, a medium size gas dryer and a toaster all operate safely on a 15 amp circuit (with NM 14/2 cable)? There are only these four receptacles on the circuit.

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-17-06, 06:03 PM
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Individually, yes. All at the same time, no.

I sure hope this is a hypothetical question and NOT an actual setup somewhere.
 
  #3  
Old 09-17-06, 06:08 PM
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Bob, please elaborate. It IS the situation I find in my funky house.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 06:52 PM
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Each one of these appliances should be on their own dedicated 20 amp circuit utilizing 12-2 wiring. Didn't mean to steal your thunder, Bob, but couldn't help it.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 06:58 PM
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Well not each one.

In a perfect world:
- The refer ~ dedicated 15 or 20 amp circuit.
- The washer and dryer can share a 20 amp circuit. There must be at least one 20 amp circuir for the laundry.
- Toaster is typically on a kitchen counter which should be served by at least two small appliance circuits to aviod problems such as the OP is describing.


Now....tell us why this is the way it is. Is this an old house?
I can easily see this scenario in an old house, which does not automatically make it illegal, just illogical.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 06:58 PM
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Wink

It IS the situation I find in my funky house.


Your "FUNKY" house. thats the best,You have the power to correct it!!! Do so ASAP!
 
  #7  
Old 09-17-06, 08:20 PM
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It get's worse.... The house was built in 1951 and much of it has original knob and tube wiring with some of the hot and neutral wires confusingly many feet apart. When it was remodeled over the years armored and NM cable wiring was added and things look a mess. (The old k & t wire is something called 'Paranite,' by the way.)

Would it make sense to start at the panel - which looks to be a 70's vintage (with breakers) - and run new circuits for everything? My hope is to get a licensed electrician to let me help him: that is let me crawl high and low, pull wire etc., so he can do the brain work and connections at the panel. Does that sound reasonable? Any of you guys in zip 93101?

MANY thanks.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 08:23 PM
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Are you sure the house was built in 1951? That's pretty late for K&T wiring....
 
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Old 09-17-06, 08:25 PM
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What brand and size of panel?
 
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Old 09-17-06, 08:48 PM
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Yes, I thought '51 was pretty late too, but all the houses in this neighborhood were built in the early 50's and all have or had knob and tube. (And many other surprises as well....)

Will report about panel later. (By size do you mean total amperage or dimensions?)
 
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Old 09-17-06, 08:59 PM
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GullyJ; That sounds reasonable. Under CLOSE supervision.
Some may disagree..... But they don't hesitate leaving the 1 year helper alone.
Follow instructions to the "T" and don't put time restraints on the contractor,Due to your lack of experiance. they may just help you.

Do expect a consulting fee. And to do some things twice, And the contractor not to show on your wim, You will NOT be top priority,Thats just the way it is.
Or you could just hire it out. Whats YOUR time worth?

You will save little, Let them do their thing.
 
  #12  
Old 09-18-06, 04:24 AM
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1951 does sound late for knob and tube, but it could be.

When you rewire, these appliances will be separated. The laundry will get a dedicated 20 amp circuit, which is fine for a washer and gas dryer.

THe kitchen will get at least two small appliance circuits for the counter, which is typically where the toaster is used. And you can certainly insist that the refrigerator get a dedicated circuit (which is what I would do).

In the mean time, be aware of what you are doing and don't try to make toast when doing your laundry.
 

Last edited by racraft; 09-18-06 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 09-18-06, 07:14 AM
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Thanks again to all.

I had my wife read all your posts so she'd be informed too, and while I was in another room I heard her exclaim - uncharacteristically it seemed to me - "Wow!"

When I came in to see about her new fascination with the building trades (this is someone who thinks you can store anvils in the cabinet over the stove) she said: "Look! Hobbs and Pigpen and a dinosaur!"
 
  #14  
Old 09-18-06, 09:42 AM
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Panel is a Zinsco and main breakers are two 100 amp.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 01:13 PM
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Plan on having the electrician give a quote on replacing that Zinsco panel when he's there. While not as bad as the dreaded Federal Pacific Stablok, Zinsco panels are certainly not the safest things in the world. Moreover add-on Zinsco breakers will run $50/ea. so upgrading to a modern panel will pay itself back when you wire new circuits as new breakers are only about $3.50/ea!

http://www.inspect-ny.com/electric/Zinsco.htm
 
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Old 09-19-06, 07:15 AM
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One more note....

The electrician I spoke with - who has been in business here for 46 years - said that knob and tube done correctly "is as safe as the day it was installed."

I plan to put in a new dedicated circuit for the washer and dryer and another for the refrigerator, per your advice.

Thanks again.
 
  #17  
Old 09-19-06, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gulleyj
One more note....

The electrician I spoke with - who has been in business here for 46 years - said that knob and tube done correctly "is as safe as the day it was installed."
If this guy has been in business that long, he may have been the one who put it in.

I agree with his assment in part. It may well be as good, but given it's age, needs to be examined to be sure.

If insulation has been added so that the knob and tube wires are covered, then he is dead wrong.
 
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Old 09-19-06, 09:23 AM
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>The electrician I spoke with - who has been in business here
> for 46 years - said that knob and tube done correctly "is
> as safe as the day it was installed."

That's correct as long as no one has installed fiberglass or blown insulation on top of the K&T. And that it has always been protected by fuses no larger than 15A; I would almost guarantee that sometime in the history of the house a previous owner had 20A or even 30A fuses installed.

Just to add to that, a '57 Chevy is still as safe today as the day it was made. In a collision, I'll opt for the airbags, seatbelts, traction control, ABS, crumple zones, etc of my '02 Chevy. Like K&T, it was the safest thing available THEN, but is not even close to the safest thing available NOW.
 
  #19  
Old 09-20-06, 04:54 PM
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I appreciate all your analysis - it all makes good sense to me. I thought his remarks about the blown-in insulation were funny too, but maybe he misunderstood me on the phone. He's coming by later this week.

A follow-up question....

If I proceed to replace the K & T piecemeal, how do I deal with the wires I cut? Here's what I mean:

The splices on the K & T where wires diverge to different fixtures were originally done by stripping three inches of insultion from the end of one wire and three inches from the middle of another, then winding one around the other, soldering, and then wrapping the splice with tape. I don't want to unwrap the splice so would it be OK - when I eliminate part of a circuit - to leave a short pigtail with a taped wire nut sticking off the remaining line?

I hope that is clear.

Thanks to all.
 
  #20  
Old 09-20-06, 05:51 PM
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I would never do anything short of replacing entire circuits at a time.

Sometimes with K and T this means entire floors of a house or more, but I would not leave any live ends in the wall.
 
  #21  
Old 09-20-06, 06:54 PM
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These would be plainly visible and accessible in the attic, not sealed in a wall, if that makes any difference.
 
  #22  
Old 09-20-06, 09:45 PM
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You can terminate the cut wires in a junction box in the attic. Use seperate knockouts for each wire (hot/neutral) and wrap electrical tape around the portion that goes into the connector.

My home is/was all K&T. I had the panel replaced and had the grand idea of replacing all wiring with Romex...

I bit off more than I can chew. This is a HUGE job. None of the wiring makes sense, circuits are connected at random and neutrals are shared. The previous owner did not spice into the existing wiring correctly, either.

So instead of doing the impossible, I inspected the current K&T wiring in the attic for damage. I did not see any. I have all blown in insulation in the attic, and none in the walls. None of the wiring was/in covered by it.

So all I am doing is removing the bad splices that the previous owner made, and adding circuits where possible. I am not rewiring the entire house, and I am not bringing the entire house up to code.

I would humbly suggest that you think long and hard about rewiring everything. If the existing wiring is safe, then leave it alone. And don't get caught up in bringing everything up to code; do what you can do to fix the overloaded circuits, and enjoy the house.

Good luck.
 
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