Redundant Breakers


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Old 11-24-22, 02:37 PM
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Redundant Breakers

Happy T day! I'm trying to help my stepson and his wife figure out what's going on with the electric at their house.

The stove and water heater both have their own respective breakers in the main panel. But then they also have breakers going to a sub panel before they feed those appliances. This seems flaky to me?

I know that probably the one panel is not Kosher.... And that 220 tied breaker in the sub panel is loose and doesn't trip together... the handle is flaky as well. ( When I can figure out how to send pictures from my phone I will do that)

The bottom line is can they both subs just be gotten rid of and made into Junction Boxes?
 
  #2  
Old 11-27-22, 07:11 PM
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I don't think anyone mentioned it yet, but the best solution is to replace all of that with a modern breaker panel. It will function more of the way you expect, and at the same time, you can resolve some of the problems you're having with miswired GFI circuits and such.

It's obviously not an inexpensive solution, but considering that setup is probably from the ~1950's, it's well past its prime. Not that it's unsafe of course, fuses are remarkably reliable when they are used the way they were intended... but an upgrade would certainly resolve your main concerns and issues.
 
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  #3  
Old 11-28-22, 04:45 PM
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I can see a disconnect required between the dryer breaker in the main panel and the dryer
That's what the dryer receptacle and dryer cord/plug are for.

Replace the 30A screw in fuses with fuses rated greater than 40A.
Let me know when you find screw-in fuses rated higher than 30 amps.

Zorfdt has the best solution, replace all that mess with a new modern circuit breaker panel and get rid of the fuses.
 
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  #4  
Old 12-04-22, 06:53 AM
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Can someone help me understand how it got this way?
A dryer requires a disconnect within site. At the time all dryers were hardwired. Now that dryers are plug in, the plug counts as a disconnect if you unplug it.
 
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Old 11-24-22, 02:49 PM
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There is nothing wrong with having those appliances in a sub panel.
Are you having a problem that you are trying to resolve? If so describe the the issue.
 
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Old 11-24-22, 03:20 PM
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Well one issue is that 2 years ago they replaced the stove thinking it was messed up when the only problem was 1 of breaker handles didn't trip and they replaced the stove needlessly.

The other issue... water heater sub panel which has a big toggle handle is connected to 2 30a screw in fuses and I don't want to see them opening sub panel breaker boxes and then replacing screw in fuses. Also seems like a bit much near live wire screw points.

3rd issue seems over tapped one of the 220 sub panels and used it to also feed a GFCI in the kitchen.

Even so they have 2 dedicated wh and stove appliance breakers from a main panel then going to a sub panel..maybe ok but bugs me

 

Last edited by Gen; 11-24-22 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 11-24-22, 04:06 PM
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Older fuse panels had large pullout handles dedicated and labeled for range and possibly water heater.
You could for example connect a sub panel to the range pullout and the put the range and other things in the sub panel. That would be fairly common.

You could also have a sub panel connected to the other large pullout handle.

It sounds like you have some older fuse panels that could probably use updating.
Try to select "desk top" version to post pictures.
 
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Old 11-24-22, 05:30 PM
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Bad toggle handle





 
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Old 11-24-22, 06:34 PM
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First thing is you need to know the difference between a sub panel and a fused/breakered disconnect. Only the last two images are sub panels. The others a fused disconnects.
The one with the burnt wires looks like it might be a main disconnect. It is full of problem along with the burnt neutral connections.
 
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Old 11-24-22, 06:55 PM
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So the one that looks like burnt neutrals...it's actually some kind of grease or dialectic grease.

Essentiall What I'm left with... My fear is one day my stepson or wife will forget there are screw fuses, or a secondary breaker. Then stove doesn't work again or the water heater doesn't work, and they see breakers in the main panel are fine and they're calling an appliance guy. I do understand now what you are explaining to me, however wouldn't it be better to just get rid this stuff?
 
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Old 11-25-22, 02:44 AM
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Depending on the NEC and possible local coded disconnects may be required in this situation.

I agree if a sub panel is wired correctly and is in good working order it does not matter if you feed an appliance like a stove/range or hot wter heater with it as long as the sub panel is rated properly for the circuits in it and the circuits do not over load the sub panel.

There really is no added danger using sub panels or disconnects as long as they are installed properly.

I see a few things in the one picture with the two pole breaker and it seems to be double tapped.
Maybe having a licensed electrician come in and visually/physically inspect the subs and disconnects and replace where needed to upgrade with newer equipment.
 
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Old 11-25-22, 06:36 AM
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If the dryer and stove are on plug and receptacle connections then there is no need for anything other than the breaker in the panel. All the other disconnects and fuses can be removed.
 
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Old 11-25-22, 06:49 AM
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I can see a disconnect required between the dryer breaker in the main panel and the dryer if local jurisdiction has a length limit or some other concern. However 2 disconnects at the same location makes no sense. In addition to solutions others have offered I would consider the following short term. Replace the 2 pole breaker with a working unit rated at less than 40A since the feed from the main panel is via a 40A breaker. Replace the 30A screw in fuses with fuses rated greater than 40A. Either breaker should open before the fuses melt on a fault beyond the fuses.
 
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Old 11-25-22, 08:41 AM
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Thank you for all the replies! I understand this much more clearly now. My main concern has
been that twice my stepson had a dryer guy and a stove appliance guy come out when the only
problem was a redundant fuse situation that was not evident to him.
 
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Old 11-25-22, 05:57 PM
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One more thing came up with the house. I found the GFCI with reverse polarity and so I figured I'd just go in and swap the black-and-white wires were in their proper place on the outlet so I guess I figured the plurity is reversed somewhere else on the circuit, And I will leave it alone for now.

Meanwhile, I'm curious if this is why the test button won't trip on the plug in gfci tester? Because I thought the GFCI monitored the difference between the hot and neutralm
 
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Old 11-25-22, 06:02 PM
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Should read but I found the black-and-white wires in their proper place.
 
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Old 11-26-22, 06:19 AM
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Does the test button on the GFCI work?
If it does and the test button the plugin tester doesn't work then there is no ground or the someone bootlegged the ground by connecting it to the neutral.

 
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Old 11-26-22, 08:21 AM
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A tripped gfi can read reversed polarity.
 
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Old 11-26-22, 04:46 PM
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The test button works on the GFCI but the plug in tester does not trip it and it reads reverse polarity.

It's also hooked up to the disposal which is also reading reverse polarity... and then onto the refrigerator as well. I know they should all be in a separate circuits. It's a 120 year old knob and tube house that
has been wrongly messed with over the years, and more than can be dealt with over a Thanksgiving visit.

Thanks for the replies!
 
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Old 11-26-22, 08:49 PM
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The test button works on the GFCI but the plug in tester does not trip it.
The plug in tester needs a proper ground to shunt current to trip the GFCI. The fact that the tester does not trip it tells me you do not have a ground present.
 
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Old 12-03-22, 08:11 PM
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OK one more. If we go back to the pics...see the fused cut off (thanks Joed for explaining what this was) to the dryer. I can understand maybe having a cut off for that but not for it being fused. Can someone help me understand how it got this way?

Was per chance the main panel replaced at some point and the fused dryer cut off was previously fed directly from the main? Since presently the dryer also has a breaker at the main.
 
 

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