3 Outlets not working

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  #1  
Old 04-27-07, 01:04 PM
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3 Outlets not working

I have a rental unit with 6 small apartments each with their own electric meter.
In one apartment I have 3 outlets that stopped working. 2 in the kitchen and 1 in the bedroom. Everything else in the kitchen and bedroom work. I checked the fuses and thought for sure I found the problem-a fuse looked ok but when I read the box I found out that if the word OK displayed on the fuse is not fully readable then an overload occured. (completely unreadable means a short). Well I ended up replacing 2 30 amp fuses and got no results. I changed two outlets and checked the wires in all 3. I get no voltage on my volt meter at any of the 3 outlets.
My 30 amp fuses are housed in two separate boxes the first is below the meter and the second is nearby. I get voltage ehen I touch the line and load with my meter at each box. Is it possible that I have the wrong type of fuse or as long as they fit and they are the proper amps styles don't matter?
Some of the wiring in the building has been upgraded but I'm pretty sure some is still knob and tube.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks,
David
 
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  #2  
Old 04-27-07, 01:19 PM
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You most certainly do have the wrong type of fuse. 30 amp fuses means a fire hazard. You need at most 20 amp fuses, most likely 15 amp ones.

Do the right thing. Call an electrician. You are discussing rental units and you are in over your head.
 
  #3  
Old 04-27-07, 01:21 PM
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YIKES! I'd run 15 amp fuses at MOST with K&T!

There is huggge liablity problems here, call an electrician ASAP!!

BTW, the reason your outlets aren't working is because you have a tripped GFCI somewhere, it could be in a garage, basment, kitchen, bathroom , outside look long and hard .
 
  #4  
Old 04-27-07, 06:44 PM
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At least one of the 30 amp fuses is the main fuse for the apartment. There is only a GFCI in the bathroom and all the other switches and outlets work except for those 3 that I mentioned. Racraft are you an electrician? I'm nearly certain that 30 amp fuses belong there and in fact occasionally the fuses blow due to an overload. I think a fire would have occurred by now 20 years later and lots of electric appliances used over the years including air conditioners.
As I stated earlier some of the house has been rewired. It also gets inspected yearly by the local Borough. Anyway if I must I will get an elctrician as I have done in the past but I always try to trouble shoot to a certain level.
However it seems that the 2 replies have been somewhat off the mark...15 or 20 amp b/c of K & T and it is a GFCI!
Any advice short of calling an electrician would still be appreciated.
Let me ask this, if an electrician comes what are the steps he would take to trouble shoot?
 
  #5  
Old 04-27-07, 07:02 PM
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If the 30 amp fuses you replaced are serving as the MAINS , and the mains only then this is acceptable, so long as it is #10 wire . Repetition means nothing in this field, just because you have blown fuses and not smoked wires does not mean it won't happen . I have seen PROPERLY protected wire burn up all ready.

Now, back to your problem. The problem is all thses outlets are most likley GFCI protected, this mean that a GFCI anywhere in the house is powering these receptacles , and thus lending it's GFCI protection. The GFCI feeding these receptacles has tripped , and thats why they are now dead. Find, reset and test EVERY GFCI you can find. They may be hidden behind boxes you haven't moved in years. Short of that, it is also possible that a splice failed further up the line [at the last working receptalce] and needs to be inspected. But I am very confident you have a tripped GFCI receptalce somewhere. It may not be effident because I have seen large plugs like those for microwaves actually HOLD the button in on the GFCI so you can't tell its tripped.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 08:42 PM
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The only way 30 amp fuses should be present is if they are the MAIN fuses.

Any fuses that protect branch circuits cannot (by code) be anything larger than 20 amps. With K&T they are most usually limited to 15 amps.

If you are tripping your main fuses, then you have more problems than you think.
 
  #7  
Old 04-27-07, 08:47 PM
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I think he ment on occasion he overloads the panel and blows the main fuse, not that it is a common occurence.

He's right, all branch circuits should be 15 to be safe.

Old wirring+modern appliances+possibly moved/disturbed connections = FIRE.
 
  #8  
Old 04-28-07, 06:44 AM
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I will get more info and let you know. At least one of the 30 amps is in the box directly below the meter but I can't imagine that each apartment only has 30 amp service. I have been baffled about the electric service in the building b/c from the outside it looks like a 60 amp service line that feeds 7 separate meters.
There are 6 1 bedroom apartments and the house has its own for common areas (lights, electric hot water, washing machine). The common area panel are breakers with modern wiring and one of the apartments has breakers w/ modern wiring. Each apartment is able to run a window air conditioner w/o overloading.
About once a year 1 apartment might overload.
I am curious though to know if the residents have used the wrong fuses that have been laying around and that is why all I remember seeing are 30's. I will look more carefully. I'll try to take some pictures and post them.
David
 
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Old 04-28-07, 07:04 AM
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Given liability civil and criminal and just plain old fashioned clear conscience you need to call an electrician now. What you have sounds like a total mess.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 07:23 AM
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Ray, can you be more specific about the mess part?
 
  #11  
Old 04-28-07, 10:25 AM
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djosephs

Not to be offensive, but you need to hire this work done.

In most places in the US you cannot do electrical work on a building if you are renting out any part of that building.

Since the main fuses are 30 amp, the service and feeders are way undersized and out of date. What can be grandfathered and what can be left is a matter for local code. Unless on of our users happens to be from the same city, we cannot answer that. You need to call the local building dept for such info.

By the fact that you are posting in a DIY forum, it is clear that you do not have a craftsman level of electrical installaions. DIY forums are not intended for people to run a business or make a profit from electrical work. They are intended for home owners who are doing work on thier own homes.

Since this is a rental property, you can likely deduct most of the cost of professional installation from your taxes.

For the same reason, you are moraly and legally bound to provide a safe living inviornment for your tennats.

Mistakes in electrical work are sneeky. Just because the system works, and the house did not immediatly burst into flames, does not mean it is safe. That mistake can fester for years, until under an odd set of conditions someon is hurt, or a fire starts.

IMHO. you need to call a licenced electrician.

Edit to add: under current national code a 100 amp service is the minimum for each apartment.
 
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