i want to update my parents electrical


Old 04-30-07, 09:46 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 1,188
i want to update my parents electrical

I'm adding GFI in the bathroom, kitchen, outside, that's easy. The house has 52 y/o wiring, with added newer CB box outside, with 6 parallel breakers for a/c, w/h, other stuff, and a 70 amp feeding the orginal fusebox inside with original #4 TW. So, i'm at the max for main breakers.
I really want the fusebox to go, because i just discovered some 30 amp fuses being used to stop some 20amp kitchen circuits from blowing fuses! There are also a couple of open spots with no fuses installed, thereby exposing 120v edison bases.
I could go with fusestats to solve the fuse sizing issue, and put some dummy or blown fuses in the "extra" spots, but I still feel there is a significant risk hazard with older people maintaining a fuse box. Another example, is the garage dryer circuit is fed from two 30amp edison fuses. This means even the shell of the fuse is likely to be hot when its being unscrewed. This thing screams shock hazard with someone probing around in the dark on concrete floors.
The existing panel is narrow, about 11 inches including the cover. A quick search of a panel that seems reasonable is the SquareD QO116M100. So far, the panels I see are designed to fit between 16" studs. So, now, i'm looking at doing some wall reconstruction to get a new panel to fit. This is a flush mount box, and it is mounted below a 2nd story with no above, back or below access for wire rework.
With all that said, what would you do? Is there a series of narrow c/b load centers? Or should I just put in fusestats and be done with this?
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Old 04-30-07, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I would replace the panel. However, I would not do so for safety, I would do so for the ability to add more circuits. Specifically, I would do this to allow me to split the existing circuits that are frequently overloaded.

Understand that fuses are NOT unsafe. What is unsafe is ignorant people who are use larger fuses than they should be using.

Understand that the new panel needs to meet today's code. You will, most likely, have to use replace the run from the outside panel to the new panel, and you will most likely have to use AFCI breakers for the bedroom circuits.
Old 04-30-07, 10:32 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,537
> what would you do?

Rip out enough drywall, stucco, framing, etc to install a standard 14.5" wide panel and new circuits; patching up later is pretty easy. Also, do a load calculation to determine if the house needs a larger service (more amps) or just a (more spaces) larger panel. If you change the panel and the service is less than 100A, you will need to upgrade to at least 100A incoming service which is the minimum allowed size.

> Or should I just put in fusestats and be done with this?

This is a good idea, but you have already said that the kitchen wiring does not meet the present demand. This is an indication that you at least need another small appliance circuit or two in addition to more safety at the panel.

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