If the fuses are properly sized they are safer than breakers because
they fail "open". A breaker can fail closed and provide no protection
(Google Federal Pacific and read the stories)
If you have the proper sized type S adapters and Type S fuses they
fully comply with the 2008 code. You could install one tomorrow in new
construction ... if someone made the panel.
Unfortunately a home inspector would flag fuses as a defect, but most
HIs are generally clueless when it comes to code and they state that
in their contract disclaimer.
Read it again, particularly exception 1
Where does it say "breaker"?
Ex 1 says essentially
You can come off your fuse panel in a metal raceway to a box with a
device type AFCI (similar to the device GFCI) then on to your
from the book;
210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection.
(A) Definition: Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI). A device
intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by
recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to
de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected.
(B) Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere
branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family
rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms,
sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or
areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter,
combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch
FPN No. 1: For information on types of arc-fault circuit interrupters,
see UL 1699-1999, Standard for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters.
FPN No. 2: See 11.6.3(5) of NFPA 72®-2007, National Fire Alarm Code®,
for information related to secondary power supply requirements for
smoke alarms installed in dwelling units.
FPN No. 3: See 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) for power-supply requirements
for fire alarm systems.
Exception No. 1: Where RMC, IMC, EMT or steel armored cable, Type AC,
meeting the requirements of 250.118 using metal outlet and junction
boxes is installed for the portion of the branch circuit between the
branch-circuit overcurrent device and the first outlet, it shall be
permitted to install a combination AFCI at the first outlet to provide
protection for the remaining portion of the branch circuit.
That would be new since my NEC2002 book, including the expansion to
rooms other than bedrooms. The NEC2002 had no such exception and
specifically indicated protection for the "entire branch circuit". Since
I live in an area with no code, permits or inspections, NEC2002 is quite
sufficient for my needs.
The exception showed up in the 2005 book but we are still waiting for
the "device type" AFCI. That is why I said "mythical"
I do understand they exist but they are not out in the field the last
This means "combo" in the sense that it protects from faults in the
fixed wiring and also wiring on the load side of the receptacle
(originally), then that was expanded to mean series and parallel arc
Cutttler Hammer does make a "combo" GFCI/AFCI breaker but that is
basically just an AFCI with 5ma ground fault protection instead of
I am not sure what the status is of the AFCI device. I suspect it is
either still in the listing phase or the manufacturers are waiting for
the market to demand one. I think they would rather sell new panels to
people who have ones too old to take the AFCI breaker. We are waiting
for some company that only makes devices I guess.
On Nov 2, 5:56 pm, email@example.com wrote:
My neighbour recently had his main fuse box replaced by a registered
electrician. I'm glad he did!
Couple of times in recent years had to help him out with fuse box
problems and it had got to the point where we had moved a couple of
fuse carriers to other positions on the buss-bars. Bad connections and
comment like "The heat in such and such a room doesn't work any more"!
Fuses were a mixture of screw-in (Edison screw) type fuse for single
leg circuits and double fuse carriers each with two cartridge fuses
for his electric baseboard heating circuits. Those cartridge fuse
carriers could accommodate IIRC either 20 amp or 30 amp fuses.
Not even sure the fuse panel was new when installed some 40 years ago!
And it was on the 'weather' end of the house in a cool outer wall
where there was also likelihood of some condensation?
And inevitably the odd circuit had been added over the years
especially when they remodeled their kitchen.
The neighbours not being very electrically knowledgeable 'could' have
put in wrong size fuse, although used to check that for them.
So in this case the circuit breaker was/is the best replacement.
But if the loads are OK, fuses and wiring the right type and size, the
owners/occupiers sensible (no pennies), and the panel is tight, dry,
and in good condition replacement may not be necessary at all.
Do agree that if/when selling the property the lack of a 'proper'
circuit breaker and the ensuing almost inevitable other costs that
will be found necessary to be done in order to then meet code could
knock quite a few dollars off the asking price!
But as long as it is safe!
The OP seems very responsible by asking the question; not one of those
situations where a slum landlord is trying to get by without spending
unnecessarily on repairs, eh? Good luck.
*Circuit breakers are more convenient to reset than fuses. You may have
limited space for additional electrical circuits. You can install ground
fault or arc fault protection in a circuit breaker panel. The perception
that the electrical system is old and faulty by potential buyers. Even if
you have no immediate plans to sell, at some point your house will be put on
the market if not by you then your heirs. If no improvements have been made
over the years the property may just be purchased for land value only and a
new house will be erected.
A house built in the fifties may not have a grounded system of wiring. Two
prong receptacles are very outdated.
I replaced the only fuse in my 50 year old house with a pushbuttton
fuse. It is in a little box on the power feed to my furnace, right
above the actual furnace. My local hardware store had pushbutton plug-
in breakers to replace various size fuses. But, I agree that unles
you are planning to sell your house, I would leave the fuses alone,
they are safer in my opinion.
I grew up in a house with a fuse box, and it function just fine. The
exception being that my dad was a cabinet maker with a full shop in
the basement, so an occasional blown fuse was normal, and expected.
The main thing that made breaker boxes more desirable was the time you
blow more fuses than expected and have to trudge out to get more.
Murphy's law dictates that; it will only happen when it is raining or
snowing and after hours of most places that sell such.
I always say, if it works, don't fix it!
The main concern with fuses is that the CORRECT amperage fuse is installed
for the wiring it is protecting. (And no pennies behind fuses!)
Have the electrician verify that you have the correct fuses installed.
Then fuses are dangerous to replace because you can accidentally touch a
live metal part.
So long as you have the correct amperage fuses installed, continue to use
the correct amperage fuses, and are super careful when replacing fuses (and
are willing to take the risk), then I would say no problem.
The other thing is if the circuits are adequate or not. If you are not
planning on buying anything which will use more electricity (like a new TV),
and the existing electric system is fine with you, then no need to replace
One other consideration is safety. Modern electrical systems are much safer
than older systems. They also can protect electronic gizmos from damage from
voltage surges (with a whole house surge protector and a modern ground
system). GFCI's installed will protect you from being electrocuted. AFCI
breakers can prevent electrical fires. Child safe outlets can protect small
children from being shocked. Etc. Basically a modern electrical system is
about 10 times more safe than an old fuse box system in my opinion. But this
includes rewiring the entire house, not just replacing the fuse boxes.
"Jeffy3" wrote in message
OP Here: So here is the $800 estimate:
Removing the existing 60-amp fuse box, meter socket and service
Install a 100 amp service with a 20 circuit panel
Run 30 ft. of 1-- amp service cable and install a new meter socket.
Install an 8 ft. ground rod and wire it to the panel.
Supply new connectors, straps, circuit breakers and a service head.
Mark the main appliances in the house.
Anything I should question? Thanks again
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