Two Fuses for a Single Circuit?


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Old 09-19-15, 08:59 PM
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Two Fuses for a Single Circuit?

I've recently purchased a 1927 home with a mix of K&T and modern wiring. There are three panels in the house and I'm currently creating a circuit map. My question arose from this and regards a sub-panel.

The sub-panel (pictured below) has two fuses for a single circuit although each fuse has its own wire. If you look at the picture, the column of fuses on the right is such that the first two fuses cover one circuit, the second two cover a second circuit, and so on. Removing one of the pair of fuses is sufficient to cut power to the circuit. K&T wiring is predominately wired into these fuses.

My question: is this a safe wiring setup, in particular is it normal and safe for two fuses to control a single circuit?

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Thank you,
SB
 
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Old 09-19-15, 09:11 PM
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...is it normal and safe for two fuses to control a single circuit?
If it is a 240 volt circuit it is not only normal and safe it is required. I DO see many other problems in that panel. Are you going to be doing some major rewiring soon and converting to circuit breakers?
 
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Old 09-19-15, 09:19 PM
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That looks to be 120v only. That would mean the neutral and the hot wire is fuse protected. That would also mean that the two fuses that feed a circuit should be the same size.

Like Furd mentioned.... there are some issues that need to be resolved there.
 
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Old 09-19-15, 09:31 PM
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Thank you Furd and PJMax. This panel does not run any appliances in need of 240 volts (it's mostly wall sconce lights and some outlets). However, I'm not sure if it is wired for 240 or 120. I am considering replacing the panel. I would appreciate hearing about the other problems that you see here.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 09-19-15, 09:42 PM
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Would it be reasonable to double fuse if the person installing the panel had not know which wire was hot and which was neutral? Most of the wire going into that right column is K&T and the hot and neutral do not appear different to my eye.
 
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Old 09-20-15, 05:43 AM
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Fuses on the neutral were often used although not the rule way back when. In later years home handymen would be confused when a circuit went dead or, worse, multiwire branch circuit neutral problems showed up, when a neutral fuse blew and its existence was not immediately found out.

Measure voltage between various fuse terminals two at a time to see if you have 240 volts between any of them. That would indicate that both terminals you were measuring at that moment were hot.
 
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Old 09-20-15, 09:16 AM
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The "fuse panel" area looks to be fed with a 12-3 or 10-3 cable. Although it's very possible to find 240v inside that area..... the fuses on the right are only on the black leg of the supply cable. The red wire of the cable feeds the two fuse fuseholder.
 
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Old 09-20-15, 04:53 PM
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What's with the empty fuse holder on the left? That looks strange.

For what its worth in my country the code requires all circuit breakers to interrupt both hot and neutral wires. So there is obviously some reason why one might fuse both wires.

To me it looks like the fuse holder on the right has two buses with wires running through the length which makes me think that it's only 120v.
 
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Old 09-20-15, 06:53 PM
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Thank you for the replies everyone. I tested each fuse and each was either 120v or neutral. This is a subpanel located on a landing. The main panel is in the basement (and also uses fuses). I think that this may have been the main panel a long time ago but it was reduced to a sub panel at some point in this 1927 home's development.
 
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Old 09-21-15, 09:54 AM
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For what its worth in my country the code requires all circuit breakers to interrupt both hot and neutral wires. So there is obviously some reason why one might fuse both wires.
I cannot think of a single good reason to fuse both the hot and neutral conductors on a 120 volt circuit although there was a period in time when it was pretty common. Under some circumstances today, the neutral is interrupted by a breaker along with the hot conductor, but not in a typical residence. In these cases, it's the common trip and common disconnect that is important.
 
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Old 09-21-15, 10:00 AM
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I'm not sure either. I just know that code here in my country requires two pole breakers and I assume it was not an arbitrary decision to increase costs for everybody (actually since we're talking about government....).
 
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Old 09-21-15, 10:36 AM
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For what its worth in my country the code requires all circuit breakers to interrupt both hot and neutral wires.
It's a safety issue. In most cases in the U.S., not switching the neutral at the circuit breaker has not been a problem.
 
 

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