Sunday, June 3, 2007


Until about 1960, screw in fuses were the norm, and 60 amp main service was the norm, too. Building codes only required 1 plug per wall. A few lamps, a fridge, maybe a toaster, or blender, a single TV (rabbit ears and all) was all that the typical family had to plug in in order to have a happy modern life. But now? Our lives run on electricity.
I went thru my house, and counted 71 items that are plugged in. I didn't think that could be possible, but when you consider 3 cell phones, cordless phones, 2 computers, printers, backup drives, battery chargers, toothbrushes, microwaves, blenders, can openers, bread makers, 4 TVs, and accompanying tivos and recorders and cable boxes and alarms, and outdoor lights, and ....... It's a good thing we upgraded when we first moved in. 200 amp service, dedicated circuits for the fridge, the computers, grounded and GFI protected new wiring to all the "wet" areas.

So, back to screw in fuses. I haven't met a home inspector or electrician or insurance underwriter yet that says they're anything but a fire waiting to happen. It's one of the many things about pre-1960 "Vintage" homes that needs to be taken into account when selling or buying.

Too many of the current homes for sale don't have the equation right to figure out what should be the real price of a home. Square footage alone can't be the sole criteria. Electric and plumbing and windows and insulation and heat/air all have to be taken into account.

If you still have screw in fuses, then an upgrade should be commenced as soon as humanly possible. If you're about to buy a home with fuses, then budget accordingly and make sure you get it done immediately!

Even post 1960 circuit breakers should be replaced every 20 years. They actually wear out from lack of use. House of Breakers on Commerce Ave. carries just about every brand and size ever made. Home depot/Lowes only has the most popular ones. Unless you REALLY know what you're doing...Consult with a licensed electrician.

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