fuse box -- all 30 amp fuses

I'm in my first home, built 1938. I know almost nothing about electrical wiring. I have an older fuse panel, as well as a breaker box that most of my larger appliances are on. All of the screw-in fuses currently in the box are 30amp. Since this box is mainly for outlets and lights, it seems that the fuses are rated too high. I'm assuming I have older, smaller gauge wiring, but I'm not sure. Based on my searches through the postings, the fuses should probably be rated 15 or 20 at the most. I think the former owner (affectionately referred to as Jethro), probably put in the 30's 'cause he was blowing fuses. Can I just take them all out and put in 15's and see what happens? Do I need to turn everything off first (water heater, etc)? Do I need to shut the main off? I can't afford to bring in an electrician for atleast a few weeks.
The ouside of the "Bulldog" fuse box does say 30amps on it, if that helps. I'm nervous about fire and want to do what I can to make everything safe for now.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You should first determine what each fuse is doing (what stuff goes out when you unscrew it?), and then replace all the 30's with 15's. You have very few, if any, circuits qualifying for 30A protection. That has to be #10 wire, generally used for a dryer, maybe, or possibly a built-in cooktop. Most of your housewiring is going to be 12 or 14; 12 is safe with a 20A fuse, 14 needs a 15A fuse.
By taking off the front of the panel so you can see the connections, you can see the size of wire associated with each fuse, but if you have no familiarity with wiring you may not be able to tell just by looking what the size is.
If you put in all 15's and then see what blows and when, you can narrow things down. What you have right now is a fire waiting to happen.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If they made 100 amp fuses, ypu'd probably have them installed. Back then, every IDIOT did it, and I want to stress the word "IDIOT". Most wiring was #14, and that means use a 15 amp fuse and nothing bigger. If it's a #12, then use a 20 amp. Only use a 30 amp on #10 wire (or thicker).
Using 30A fuses defeats the whole purpose of the fuse, and can start a fire, and cause problems collecting insurance too.
Replace all of them with 15A, unless you are sure that there is a thicker wire on that line.
I recommend the screw in breakers until you can afford to rewire with modern breakers. By the time you buy about 5 fuses, you can pay for the screw in breaker.
On 21 Jul 2003 09:39:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (durgidog) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.