When purchasing a home or cottage many times people will ask me to check out the main electrical service.
Usually this is when it’s an older home and the electrical service is a fuse panel.
Insurance companies usually get uptight when they find out the home has a fuse panel and recommend that the panel be changed to a breaker panel system.
Everyone is familiar with the old screw in fuses. And for those that have a fuse panel know that if the 15 amp fuse keeps blowing you can screw in a 20 amp, 25 amp, 30 amp fuse till the fuse stops blowing.
This is where the problem lies. The fuses are rated for the wire it is protecting. Our standard lights and receptacles work off a 14 guage wire. The wire is rated to carry a maximum of 15 amps. So when we plug in too many devices on one circuit the fuse becomes overheated and ‘blows’. By using a larger fuse we may stop the problem of the fuse blowing all the time but the wire is rated to carry only 15 amps. Now that we’re used a larger fuse the wire becomes overheated, as it is working beyond capacity. These overheated wires are running through wood studs in the walls. The potential for fire now exists.
This is why the insurance companies would like the panel changed over from fuses to breakers. They know that the home will be much safer with a new breaker panel than the old fuse panel.
I have changed over many old fuse panels that were in great shape for this very reason. There is nothing wrong with the panel. It’s human error where the problem lies.
So if you’re thinking about buying a new home and curious about the safety of the electrical system of the home it might be worth your while to contact a reputable electrical contractor in your area.
P.O. Box 238 Dwight, Ontario. P0A 1H0
ESA Provincial Master Electrical Contractor License # 7001742