Results 1 to 37 of 37

Thread: Fuse panel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Fuse panel

    This 1914 house has a 100 A fused disconnect and a large fuse panel. Around here, 60 Amp is more typical for places of this age. Could this be a 1940's upgrade?

    The neutral bus appears to be isolated in the distribution panel. If the buyer replaces all the incorrect fuses, does he have a safe installation?

    I know the selection of fuse ratings is a disaster. This place has been a rental for years and tenants have probably blown a lot of fuses with their plug-in space heaters, hence the over-fused circuits everywhere.

    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Looks like that panel has been on fire in the past ?

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Looks like a newer fuse panel to me, but don't see many any more.

    Any time I see improper fuses in place, which is almost always, I recommend replacement of the fuses with type S fuses.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Then NEC *REQUIRES* that those Edison base type fuses be replaced with the safety type fuses and the insertion of the safety type fuse adapters whenever overfusing is found - no, they are not allowed to go back to the correct size Edison base fuse but must install the correct size adapter and the correct size safety fuse, or, change to another type of fuse (cartridge fuse) or breaker - meaning there are options, but the safety type fuse adapters are the least expensive option I can think of.

    From the 2008 NEC:
    - 240.51 Edison-Base Fuses.
    - - (B) Replacement Only. Plug fuses of the Edison-base type shall be used only for replacements in existing installations where there is no evidence of overfusing or tampering.

    I see the smoke residue Ron is referring to right across the top of the fuse panel.

    John,

    "The neutral bus appears to be isolated in the distribution panel." - It does look that way in the photo, but you had a better look.

    "If the buyer replaces all the incorrect fuses, does he have a safe installation?" - *I* would not use the term "safe installation" ... even if the fuses were all replaced with safety fuse adapters and safety fuses ... even safety fuses can be wrapped in aluminum foil (I've seen it) and inserted, defeating the safety feature of the fuse, but they are a lot better than the Edison base fuses in that they are more resistant to tampering by making it harder to tamper with them.
    "

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    even if the fuses were all replaced with safety fuse adapters and safety fuses ... even safety fuses can be wrapped in aluminum foil (I've seen it) and inserted, defeating the safety feature of the fuse, but they are a lot better than the Edison base fuses in that they are more resistant to tampering by making it harder to tamper with them.
    Any idiot can modify a breaker panel as well. All it takes is someone smart enough to pull the panel cover off. Adding a larger breaker is about as easy as stacking Legos. Or, they could just directly solder the wire in lieu of purchasing a breaker.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    Any idiot can modify a breaker panel as well. All it takes is someone smart enough to pull the panel cover off. Adding a larger breaker is about as easy as stacking Legos. Or, they could just directly solder the wire in lieu of purchasing a breaker.

    "All it takes is someone smart enough to pull the panel cover off."

    The thing with fuse panels, though , is that ... *you do not even need to pull the cover off* ...

    All you have to do is unscrew that little bugger and screw in a higher amperage fuse (if using the old Edison base fuses).

    And, when that 30 amp fuse blows, simply put a penny behind the fuse, no more problemo.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Along the line of what Jerry is saying, I went to the hardware store to get a fuse, they only sold 30amp.
    Their thinking is why stock 4or 5 different fuses when 1 size fits all.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Along the line of what Jerry is saying, I went to the hardware store to get a fuse, they only sold 30amp.
    Their thinking is why stock 4or 5 different fuses when 1 size fits all.
    That is ammunition to call for getting fuse panels updated, technology has passed by the age of fuses in residential settings. People don't understand enough to keep from hurting themselves, time to make things more idiot proof.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    Looks like that panel has been on fire in the past ?

    Best

    Ron
    Yes, I suspect some #14 wire has been fried in this panel in the past.

    The little breaker fuse adaptors are cool, but these are all rated for 20 A.

    JP *I* would not use the term "safe installation" ... even if the fuses were all replaced with safety fuse adapters and safety fuses ... even safety fuses can be wrapped in aluminum foil (I've seen it) and inserted, defeating the safety feature of the fuse, but they are a lot better than the Edison base fuses in that they are more resistant to tampering by making it harder to tamper with them.
    Agreed, the hazard of tampering is always there. The landlord owner has been ignorant not to check the fuse ratings, and lucky for him and his tenants this place hasn't had a serious fire yet.
    My client realizes he should install a breaker panel, plus I told him he should, but there's a roof to put on and windows to replace, etc. He plans to put in the correct 15 Amp fuses. Hopefully, Type S are all that's available.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Yes, I suspect some #14 wire has been fried in this panel in the past.

    The little breaker fuse adaptors are cool, but these are all rated for 20 A.

    John,

    I'm not following you.

    You said some #14 in the past, and #14 is 15 amp, then you said all those fuses are 20 amp ... ??

    Even if those fuses are all 20 amps, there is nothing ... absolutely nothing ... which prevents a 30 amp from being screwed into there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    John,

    I'm not following you.

    You said some #14 in the past, and #14 is 15 amp, then you said all those fuses are 20 amp ... ??

    Even if those fuses are all 20 amps, there is nothing ... absolutely nothing ... which prevents a 30 amp from being screwed into there.
    Most of the branch circuits are #14 copper, should have 15 A fuses, as marked on the panel, pic 1. People have installed larger fuses, so we are speculating a fire may have been caused in the past by over-fusing??

    Those mini-breakers in the panel are wrong, as they are rated for 20 A.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Most of the branch circuits are #14 copper, should have 15 A fuses, as marked on the panel, pic 1. People have installed larger fuses, so we are speculating a fire may have been caused in the past by over-fusing??

    Those mini-breakers in the panel are wrong, as they are rated for 20 A.
    Which, IF the Canadian Electrical Code is as the NEC is, the proper sized Edison base fuses ARE NOT allowed to be re-installed in that fuse panel - only the safety fuse adapters with safety fuses would be, or replace the fuse panel with a modern breaker panelboard.

    Do you know if the Canadian Electrical Code has the same type limitation for replacement of Edison base fuses?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Rob Omstead's Avatar
    Rob Omstead Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    I dont have my code book but I am quite sure all fuses are required by the canadian electrical code to be replaced with the safety type fuses. I will double check when I get home.


  14. #14
    Eric Spoomonger's Avatar
    Eric Spoomonger Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    .... If the buyer replaces all the incorrect fuses, does he have a safe installation?.
    I would say if the buyer plans to occupy the home, then the turnover can negates the prior tampering concern. If it will still be a rental, they should upgrade for a number of reasons.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    My client realizes he should install a breaker panel, plus I told him he should, but there's a roof to put on and windows to replace, etc. He plans to put in the correct 15 Amp fuses. Hopefully, Type S are all that's available.
    What good are new windows and a new roof on a burned down house?


  16. #16

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Which, IF the Canadian Electrical Code is as the NEC is, the proper sized Edison base fuses ARE NOT allowed to be re-installed in that fuse panel - only the safety fuse adapters with safety fuses would be, or replace the fuse panel with a modern breaker panelboard.

    Do you know if the Canadian Electrical Code has the same type limitation for replacement of Edison base fuses?
    Gerry,

    Rule 14-204(2) - If any *alterations* are made to an exixting panel, these ejectors must be installed.


  17. #17
    John Pignatore's Avatar
    John Pignatore Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    As an insurance inspector..I can tell you that my instructions by the insurance company when ever I come across a plug fuse panel..is the classify it as a risk..As a home inspector, I always recommend replacement of plug fuse panels..more so if the buyer plans on renting..


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Why not just spend the $300 or $400 and replace the entire panel with 15amp breakers.
    The insurance company would be happier and might reduce the premium. (After a 4point inspection)


  19. #19
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    First off, that panel looks more like a late 50's or early 60's vintage, and not from 1914 at all. At first glance, the wires liikmlike they might be large enough for a 100 amp service, so no problem there.

    I note that many of the fuses have been replaced by circuit breakers. This being the case, there is no need to use 'type S' fuses. The breakers are fine. I have a direct ruling on this from the code panel. Replacing the fuses with breakers removes the need for using tamper-resistant fuses.


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Spoomonger View Post
    I would say if the buyer plans to occupy the home, then the turnover can negates the prior tampering concern.
    Eric,

    I'm trying to understand how changing ownership negates tampering of the fuses?

    Safety, nor any codes, go based on ownership, simply on what is.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lyons View Post
    Why not just spend the $300 or $400 and replace the entire panel with 15amp breakers.
    Ken,

    I will cost a lot more than that to replace that panel, probably more like $1,000 to $1,500.

    You are not allowed to just remove the fuse panel inside that enclosure and install a breaker panelboard in that same enclosure, you need to replace the enclosure too.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    I note that many of the fuses have been replaced by circuit breakers. This being the case, there is no need to use 'type S' fuses. The breakers are fine. I have a direct ruling on this from the code panel. Replacing the fuses with breakers removes the need for using tamper-resistant fuses.
    John,

    Do you have that ruling you could post? Thank you.

    I doubt it allows replacing 15 amp Edison base plug fuses with 20 amp Edison base plug breakers, and nothing in the NEC says you are allowed to do that instead of installing the safety fuse adapters.

    I would be very interested in seeing their ruling and its wording.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South-West Michigan
    Posts
    469

    Exclamation Re: Fuse panel

    There appears to be evidence of branch circuit overheating in the panel. My best guess would be a late 1950's upgrade, which is now a fire waiting to happen. There appear to be signs of overheated neutrals and overheated hot conductors. The best recommendation, in my opinion, would be referral to an electrician and recommendation to replace. I would love to be there when the panel was de-energized, unmounted, and the bus bars inspected. My guess is they will show signs of overheating. That, then, begs the question: what about the branch circuits? Unsafe, in my opinion.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Gratton View Post
    Gerry,

    Rule 14-204(2) - If any *alterations* are made to an exixting panel, these ejectors must be installed.
    Ah bon, Marcel, vous ettes un electrician Canadien de Ontario, n'est pas?


  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Omstead View Post
    I dont have my code book but I am quite sure all fuses are required by the canadian electrical code to be replaced with the safety type fuses. I will double check when I get home.
    Thanks Rob. I have been trying to point out the many differences for Canadian inspectors, but we need the Canadian code book here.


  25. #25
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    I don't give buyers any other advise but remove and replace if its had any kind of smoke or past fire condiiton. and any of these old fuse panels need to go.A.S.A.P.

    bEST

    rON


  26. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    I don't give buyers any other advise but remove and replace if its had any kind of smoke or past fire condiiton. and any of these old fuse panels need to go.A.S.A.P.
    Ok, but do we all agree that the 100A fused service disconnect switch is alright?


  27. #27
    Rob Omstead's Avatar
    Rob Omstead Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    CEC 14-204
    (1) Where plug fuses are used in branch circuits, they shall be of such a type and installed so tat they are non-interchageable with a fuse of larger rating.

    I hope that helps


  28. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Nothing wrong with the fused disconnect if it's service rated. However, for the extra a main breaker in a panel costs I'd certainly replace it as part of installing a new panel.

    Most heat damaged branch circuit wiring I see is caused by loose connections and seldom by oversized fuses or breakers.


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Omstead View Post
    CEC 14-204
    (1) Where plug fuses are used in branch circuits, they shall be of such a type and installed so tat they are non-interchageable with a fuse of larger rating.
    Yes, that helps answer the question - regarding new installations ... but not regarding overfusing in existing installations.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    Nothing wrong with the fused disconnect if it's service rated. However, for the extra a main breaker in a panel costs I'd certainly replace it as part of installing a new panel.
    Agreed, removing it all and installing a new service equipment panel (which includes the main service disconnect) would be the recommend way to go.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Agreed, removing it all and installing a new service equipment panel (which includes the main service disconnect) would be the recommend way to go.
    I am not an electrician, but does that not entail having the utility people cutting power to the service by pulling the meter?


  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I am not an electrician, but does that not entail having the utility people cutting power to the service by pulling the meter?
    Yes, the utility would have to cut power by pulling the meter. And depending on locality you would need to pull a permit. Once power is off you can install the new panel, run any new lines, as needed to the meter and have a brand new service. If the original disconnect is okay, you could avoid the meter pull by using the disconnect and leaving it in place.

    I would never advise anyone to do this hot. (Flash Arc with ~3,000 amps isn't nice)


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lyons View Post
    I would never advise anyone to do this hot. (Flash Arc with ~3,000 amps isn't nice)
    Now you tell me! No worries though, the sensation has returned to my right side, my fingerprints are coming back in, and my eyesight grows less fuzzy by the day.

    Actually, I did hot wire a 96kVA step-down transformer once, when I was young, and definitely very stupid. Knowing what I know now, I'm not sure how I escaped winning a Darwin Award.


  34. #34
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    "Panel Statement: 240.51 is dealing solely with Edison base fuses. There is
    nothing in the Code to prohibit the use of the circuit breakers that the submitter
    references where used as replacements only."

    That is the response by the code committee to a proposal I made, seeking to clarify this matter in the 2008 edition of the NEC.

    This response is included in the 'report on proposals 2008.' Look at page 70-169, proposal 10-46 Log #1654 NEC P-10.

    In effect, they told me "This is about FUSES, not circuit breakers - what part of that do you fail to understand?" The code is absolutely silent about edison-base circuit breakers.


  35. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    "Panel Statement: 240.51 is dealing solely with Edison base fuses. There is nothing in the Code to prohibit the use of the circuit breakers that the submitter references where used as replacements only."
    Which in no way addresses the "overfusing" aspect.

    All that is saying is that, yes, if you have Edison base fuses OF THE PROPER RATING and want to replace those Edison base fuses with Edison base circuit breakers OF THE SAME PROPER RATING, there is no prohibition against that.

    You trying to turn that around and say it allows you to take overfused Edison base fuses out and install proper size Edison base circuit breakers is adding something completely new to the equation.

    The code DOES address EXACTLY WHAT TO DO when Edison base fuses have been "overfused" - the code REQUIRES the installation of safety type fuses and their adapters. Then the question becomes, do they make those safety type base circuit breakers in the appropriate sizes for the safety type bases?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  36. #36
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Sorry, Jerry, but the panel didn't see it that way when I made my proposal. As far as they're concerned, breakers and fuses are as different as cheese and chalk. It would seem that the panel did not see a reason to fear 'over breakering.' I made my proposal specifically because of the reasoning you put forth - and the panel saw no need. As they say, code already allows you to replace a fuse with a breaker - even if that fuse was too big.

    And. naturally, there is absolutely no prohibition of replacing fuses with breakers - or nearly every service change made would be a 'violation.'

    Perhaps the panel was reassured by the fact that you can reset breakers - no more 10PM Sunday night scrambles to find more fuses!

    To be fair, this debate has benn going in circles since the 70's. The same tired rhetoric, again and again. I doubt the panel is going to ever re-write the code to specifically address every way someone can misunderstand things; it would seem plain that if there's no longer any fuse, over-fusing cannot be an issue.


  37. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fuse panel

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Sorry, Jerry, but the panel didn't see it that way when I made my proposal. As far as they're concerned, breakers and fuses are as different as cheese and chalk. It would seem that the panel did not see a reason to fear 'over breakering.' I made my proposal specifically because of the reasoning you put forth - and the panel saw no need. As they say, code already allows you to replace a fuse with a breaker - even if that fuse was too big.
    Sorry John, but YOU are reading WAY TOO MUCH into what you posted they said.

    THEY DID NOT SAY what you are saying they said - not if you post their accurate answer (and I have no reason to suspect you did anything else, I am only relying on the information *you* provided).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •