Replace Fuse Panel

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Old 02-20-10, 07:46 AM
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Question Replace Fuse Panel

My house is 40+ years old. My cousins house recently burned down due to an electrical fire and it was about the same age as mine. This got me to thinking that maybe I should have my fuse panel replaced. I've been reading about AFCI breakers and understand that they are required now for bedroom circuits in new construction homes. I could probably replace the panel myself but am thinking a pro could do it neater and in half the time.

Do AFCI breakers really add that much more peace of mind/safety than fuses and is a job like this better left to a pro?

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Old 02-20-10, 07:49 AM
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Yes and yes.

Do you actually have fuses or circuit breakers? If circuit breakers, what brand? You might be able to install AFCI breakers into your existing panel, which can be a DIY job (with the right safety precautions in place).
 
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Old 02-20-10, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by caddymac View Post
Yes and yes.

Do you actually have fuses or circuit breakers? If circuit breakers, what brand? You might be able to install AFCI breakers into your existing panel, which can be a DIY job (with the right safety precautions in place).
It's all fuses, barrel and socket type.

thanks
 
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Old 02-20-10, 09:37 AM
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Replacing a fuse box is not a DIY project. If involves pulling the meter. If your current service is less then 100 amps every thing will probably have to be replaced from the box to the power companies drop or lateral. That includes meter socket, wiring etc.

Fuses are not inherently unsafe so long as the correct size is used. In fact some would argue because they contain no mechanical parts fuses are less likely to fail. Depending on your current fuse box you may be able to add a breaker box subpanel for AFCIs and move the bedroom circuits there. That could be an advanced DIY project and cheaper. The pros will have to advise on that. Can you post pictures or make and model of your fuse box?
 
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Old 02-20-10, 02:11 PM
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I agree with Ray as long as you have 15 amp or smaller fuses on your 14gauge wires and 20 or 15 amp fuses on 12 wire fuses CAN be very very safe.

make sure your cartridge fuses are the correct size

Check the water heater wire if its 12 gauge replace any 30 amp fuses with 25 amp fuses or replace the wire to 10 gauge I would tell you to go to 20 amp fuses but that would likely blow a fuse...pros can weigh there opinion there.

in general DON'T use a 30 amp fuse unless the wire is 10 gauge bottom line Just because it fits doesn't mean its safe

Remember fuses and breakers just protect the wiring and if the wiring is over fused it does no good
 
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Old 02-20-10, 08:40 PM
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Considering the age of the house and the fact you still have fuses, most likely the outside part of the service is just as old as your fuse panel. Bottom line, you probably should be thinking about replacing and/or upgrading the complete service and also upgrade the grounding to today's code. Fuses are actually the very best circuit protection money can buy, but they lack the convenience of a circuit breaker. The problem with fuses generally comes when the unqualified and unknowing home owner installs a larger fuse than the circuit is rated for to mask a problem such as overloading. As far as AFCI protection, yes they do add safety, but not all homes can just easily have ACFI protection added simply by adding a AFCI breaker. The AFCI circuits must have a dedicated neutral conductor. If your home was wired with 3-wire (common neutral) circuits, the circuits you are wanting to be protected will have to be rewired.

Am I concerned because my home doesn't have AFCI protection? No.
 
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Old 05-26-10, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for all the advice.

In the panel there are 20 spots for TL type fuses. Most were 30 amp and all the wire was 12 guage. For areas I knew didn't draw much current I put in 15's all others I replaced with 20's.
 
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Old 05-27-10, 04:57 PM
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That's a good first step for safety. Now, start saving for a new service to be installed.
 
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Old 05-27-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sybaris View Post
Thanks for all the advice.

In the panel there are 20 spots for TL type fuses. Most were 30 amp and all the wire was 12 guage. For areas I knew didn't draw much current I put in 15's all others I replaced with 20's.
Good job. 12 gauge copper wire may only be fused at a max of 20 amps and #14 at 15 amps. There are very few times where there are exceptions that I won't list because they will not apply to you. Over fusing is one sure way to start a fire.
 
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