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Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
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I have an old shotgun fuse and screw in fuse panel box. My

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I have an old shotgun fuse and screw in fuse panel box. My living room outlet blows a lot but when I twist the fuse in the panel box then the current will come back on. I only have the TV, cable box, Wii, and living room lights (4) on this circuit. I know this is some kind of shortage but can it cause an electrical fire.
I also use electric stand alone heaters that I have to use with an extension cord which runs to another outlet because the fuse blows when I plug the cord in the outlet in the room where it sits. I am using the maxiumum heavy duty extension cord. Can this be a fire hazard?
Can I have the fuse shortage fix without installing a whole new electrical panel, even though I need it, but I can't afford it right now. Thanks.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Rich replied 4 years ago.

Rich :

Hello give me a couple moments to review your situation

Rich :

In general I think you are due for a service upgrade ..

Rich :

If the situation is blowing the fuse .. then that indicates that there is a frault in the circuit in the house

Rich :

but you say it dioes not blow the fuse .. just the fuse is not making good contact ,, and power comes back on if you twist the fuse a bit .. that tells me that there is possibly some fatigue in the fuse socket

Rich :

are these glass fuses ,, or are they harg plastic . possibly collored plastic fuses ?

Rich :

does that closer fuse blow when the cord is plugged in .. or when some device is plugged into the cord ? what is the amperage rating printed on these fuses ?

Rich :

I do not see an obvious fire hazard here .. the problem is the fuse not making good contact .. as long as the fuse is the coiorrect amperage . then there seems to be no fire hazard ..

Customer :

These are 30 amp glass fuses and the current to that outlet is active and the fuse will blow for no apparent reason but upon twisting the fuse more in the fuse panel the power comes back on.

Customer :

How do I know if my fuse amps are correct? I use 30 amp fuses for everything and 60 amp shotgun fuses. I don't know if I am overloading my circuit.

Rich :

OK . from my experience the 30 amp fuse is oversized .. if you could tell what size wire was used for the circuit , then you could size the fuse correctly .. if # XXXXX wire use a 20 amp fuse .. if #14 wiire use a 15 amp fuse .. it is very unlikely that the builder used #10 wire , which would be required if using those 30 amp fuses .. NOW we are talking about a fire hazard .. the wire is not protected as it should be and could overheat, breaking down the insulation and possibly causing a fire ..

Rich :

What is the rated wattage of the heaters that you are pluggiing in ?? if more than 200 watts on a 20 amp fuse , you are pushing the limits of the circuit .. if these heaters are actually blowing a 30 amp fuse , you have probably been lucky

Rich :

in my experience the wiring is more likely #14 which would be 15 amps .. which wouid allow a heater rated at about 1200 watts

Rich :

and these fuses are all glass .. right ,, no white or red or blue plastic?

Expert:  Rich replied 4 years ago.
Hmm .. did I loose you ,.,.. you can log on here and we can continue if you wish .. I may be away from the computer for odd periods today .. but I will catch up with you for replies ..
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I cannot tell what size wire was used for the circuit box.

The heaters are 1500 watt and the only circuit I can plug into without it blowing is the outlet where the washing machine is plugged in, and the phone cord also plus into that outlet.

I use to plug it in the outlet that keeps shorting out in the living room but now I can’t use that anymore.

I assume these are glass fuses because the color is clear and the casing around it is green or clear.

All my shotgun fuses are 60 amps because I don't know what to use. How can I tell?

I've been at this house for 30 years and never paid any attention to the original fuses that were in the fuse panel.

Can I add another circuit in the fuse box or do I need to convert to the switch fuse box?

All these fires I have heard on the news is getting me worried.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I cannot tell what size wire was used for the circuit box. The heaters are 1500 watt and the only circuit I can plug into without it blowing is the outlet where the washing machine is plugged in, and the phone cord also plus into that outlet. I use to plug it in the outlet that keeps shorting out in the living room but now I can’t use that anymore. I assume these are glass fuses because the color is clear and the casing around it is green or clear. All my shotgun fuses are 60 amps because I don't know what to use. How can I tell? I've been at this house for 30 years and never paid any attention to the original fuses that were in the fuse panel. Can I add another circuit in the fuse box or do I need to convert to the switch fuse box? All these fires I have heard on the news is getting me worried.
Expert:  Rich replied 4 years ago.

At this point I would recommend that you have an electrician come in and evaluate the electrical system .. you might find someone to do it for minimal cost .. or a fee estimate type thing ,.. that way you would have some hands-on expertise as to just what the wire is and what the fuses are .. I can chat with you about it and give you my opinion about the system .. but I cannot see it or feel it ..

And since you are apprehensive about not knowing just what you have .. and are reaching out to get answers , I think having someone there would be more comfort to you ..

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will do that but in the meantime how can I experiment with different fuses (15 or 20) and what will happen if they are the right fuses. You said 30 amps are overloading. What do you mean by overload? Nothing in my house is flickering or dimming, so doesn't that mean I am using the right amps? I also have an inspection report done 30 years ago before I brought my house. It did say I need an upgrade if I was going to use my electrical things but nothing that was a fire hazard.
Expert:  Rich replied 4 years ago.

In my opinion and from my experience , older electrical systems like yours used # XXXXX wire and less often # XXXXX wire .. most of the fuse panels that I see like yours are fitted with 15 amp fuse and sometimes with 2o amp fuses .. if you try a 15 or 20 .. you may find that it fits better and will not go off on you as it has been doing

By overload , I mean that the wire that is most likely in your circuits is designed for transmissi=on of 15 or maybe 20 amps .. you have a 30 amp fuse in the panel .. so that fuse will allow 30 amps before it trips .. that is twice as much amperage as the wire is rated for .. that condition is termed overloaded .. like putting 2 tons of sand in a 1 ton truck .. eventually something is going to snap ..

 

If you would like me to explain more .. or something is not clear .. or you have other thoughts, concerns, issues ,.. please continue here until you are satisfied with the discussion and with what you should do to help your situation .. OK ?

Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience: Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
Rich and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will follow-up after Christmas holidays. Merry Christmas and thanks.
Expert:  Rich replied 4 years ago.

YES ,, 30 years ago I could handle a lot more that I can now .. your electrical system is similar .. and who knows who or when those fuses got changed to 30 amp .. typically someone had a problem with blowing fuses and just put in a larger fuse to get around the problem .. or maybe it was like that when you got there .. hard for me to tell .. but not surprising to me that it happened ..

 

I still would advise you to have an electrician evaluate the system for you .. like an inspection .. he would be able to determine the wire size and the proper fuses to use .. and advise you if there are an other obvious problems ..

 

you have a joyous holiday ..

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I had an electrician check out my fuse panel. Let's say he was licensed and insured and in business for himself. He didn't have a picture ID with him, but he showed me a copy of his license and permit. I met him in Lowes Department Store. Anyway I hesitantly let him check my fuse panel. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea but he was cheap. He changed three 30 amp fuses and replaced them with 20 amps. Everything appeared fine until the next day when one of the fuses blew.

Here's a diagram of my fuse panel:

two 30 amp round fuses controlled: dryer outlet and 1 regular outlet in a bedroom

two 30 amp small shotgun fuses controlled: hot water tank outlet

two 60 amp regular shotgun fuses: turns off everything in house
(main switch--just pull it out from the box). It also covers 2 areas separately. One fuse covers all ceiling lights. The other fuse covers 3 outlets in front room. I have to replace both fuses when one of the areas blows because I can't look at the fuse to tell which one blew.

two 60 amp regular shotgun fuses controlled: electric range (the electricXXXXX XXXXXed this to two 40 amp fuses).

one 30 amp round fuse controlled: stove hood light, refrigerator in kitchen, dining room outlets

one 30 amp round fuse controlled: microwave outlet, toaster oven outlet, all outlets in 3 bedrooms, oil furnace outlet (the electricXXXXX XXXXXed this to a 20 amp fuse that ended up blowing the next day--I put the 30 amp fuse back in--the electrician nor I knew the furnace was on this circuit). After we put the 30 amp back in the fuse box the back of the round fuse was a little warm but not hot.

one 30 amp round fuse controls: dishwasher

one 30 amp round fuse controls: front room outlets where TV, cable box, 2 lamps, wii, dvd player, ceiling light (the electricXXXXX XXXXXed this to a 20 amp fuse; it was originally a 30 amp round fuse). This originally had a short in it but he tightened something up after unscrewing the fuse panel box. This stopped the shortage problem.

one 30 amp round fuse controls: washing machine outlet

one 30 amp round fuse controls: all ceiling lights

Do you have any suggestions you can give me after looking at how my fuse diagram is laid out. Thanks.


Expert:  Rich replied 3 years ago.

OK .. I basically see what you have .. did the electrician check and tighten all the screw terminals in the panel??

 

I am assuming that the electrician found that the wire for the circuits is rated for 20 amps , because the replaced your 30 amp fuses with 20 amp fuses .. That was my initial analysis of your electrical service ,, those circuits blow a 20 amp fuse , then they are overloaded and the wire in a hazardous condition ..

 

The hot water tank should be on two 30 amp fuses , and #10 wire , with no outlets on that circuit ..

If your dryer is a 220 volt dryer, then that should be on two 30 amp fuses, with no other outlets on that circuit ..

an electric stove should be on two 50 amp fuses with no other outlets on that circuit ..

 

EVERYTHING else , all the room outlets, and small kitchen appliances , and lights , should be on a single 145 or 20 amp fuse , depending on the wire size used in the circuit ..

 

The main, two fuse , pullout would typically be fitted with two 60 amp barrel fuses . this should be for the main power to the house and no other attachments ..

 

 

the best suggestion I can give you is to have an electrician do a service upgrade for you .. you have just toooo much stuff connected to your electrical panel and the wires are in a hazardous condition ..

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately this guy only looked at my fuse diagram and changed it to the smaller fuse size. At that time he had not look at the wires. When he did look at the wires he did not say if they were #10, #12, #14. All he said was he would rather put in a smaller fuse and if it blows that will protect the wires from overheating. I did look at the wires in the fuse box myself and they look darn good for it to be 30 years old. Okay this quack electrician didn't really do anything but take my money. Should I look for a master electrician to review my panel box. I still have 2 empty spaces on the fuse box where I can upgrade later on. What do I tell the electrician I want them to do and how much do you think (estimated) it will cost. I can't afford a new fuse box right now so how can I still use what I got?
Expert:  Rich replied 3 years ago.

OK .. find an electrician that will give you a free estimate .. or ask him for an inspection of your electrical service .. then get a written estimate or report with details ,, wire sizes, fuse sizes .. and cost to upgrade to 100 amp service, including line item details of the proposed work ,,

the report should be a couple hours and be less than $100 .. the service up grade would be more in the $500 range ..

 

for now , you should split the house receptacles and lights off of the circuits that are supplying the water heater and the dryer ..the house receptacles and lights should be wired to empty fuse spaces and protected with the appropriate fuses .. 15 or 20 amp .. the electrician put in 20's , so I am guessing that would be appropriate ..

 

thoughts .. concerns ??

Rich, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience: Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain
Rich and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

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