Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 9 years ago

Are Fuses/Fuse Boxes Obsolete, how long will they still be easily purchased?

I live in a home with a 60+year old original ceramic fuse box, 15 amp original wiring and it works fine but I was told by a friend that new homes can't have fuse boxes and insurance companies force many people to replace fuse boxes with circuit breakers, I know there are a lot of old homes still, but how much longer will it be easy to purchase fuses for your home?

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  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The fuses themselves will likely be available for a while. The fuse boxes haven't been manufactured for many decades. If you have a failure with the fuse box, it will likely have to be replaced. The problem is that it then becomes an emergency repair job. This almost always costs more than a planned/scheduled repair. You will likely need to have the entire service upgraded (not just the panel). This will also involve your local power company.

    If your service is that old, then the wiring is probably 60+ yrs old as well. It is beyond time for an inspection. It is also probably time for a re-wire of the home. The insulation on wiring that old is likely in a very degraded condition due to time and other factors. Just because the conductors in your wiring are still doing their job, does not mean that the insulation is still doing its job very well.

    Codes and laws do vary around the country. In my area (WA state), I have dealt with cases where insurance companies will not even write insurance for homes with fuse boxes or Knob-and-Tube wiring (This may also be present in your home). An insurance company does not have the authority to 'force' you to update the home. But, they may have the right to deny renewal of your policy, forcing you to shop for new insurance.

    Costs vary greatly from one area to another. Consult licensed electrical contractors in your area if you need prices for this work. Anyone attempting to quote that in this column is a fool (since you do not state where you are at).

    Sorry 'Harry', but you are nuts if you think that it only takes an hour and a half for a panel change and 3 to 4 days to re-wire an entire house to current National Electrical Code requirements.

    Source(s): NEC IBEW 191
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  • sparky
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Depending on your location in this wide world of ours, eventually the old ceramic type fuses and associated switch boards etc will be replaced but until then you can ask "How long's a piece of string." That's possibly the only answer you would find if you made inquiries to the relevant bodies.

    If you're generally concerned about the safety and suitability of your existing electrical installation I would suggest you obtain a Safety Inspection by a Licensed and Qualified Electrician which may cost you $100 but if any work is required from that inspection ask the Contractor for a Written Quote. As we "progress" to so called safer electrical installations the powers that be have regulated the Electrical Industry in most developed countries which now creates the methods of wiring new constructions including homes and other situations with different materials and safer components to the extent that all new premises must have Circuit Breakers with no fuse type over current protection but also must be controlled through Earth Leakage Circuit breakers normally installed as "Safety Switches" to disconnect the power if the detector finds more than 30 mA out of balance between two conductors normally in a single phase or more if you have multi-phase in coming supply Actives or Live and the return wire Neutral. Hence the EL-CB will trip out in a fraction of a second to protect the users / occupants / installation.

    Ceramic fuses have done the job over 100 years perhaps in some installations and have gradually been updated especially from 1970s on. There are further requirements also that every outlet of power including lighting and power outlets must have suitable earthing at the same point once again for safety reasons. All fixed appliances also must have earthing conductors available.

    All homes as far as I'm aware will continue to have circuit breakers and no fuses eventually as such and the protection of the Main Earth leakage circuit breakers which are now compulsory on new buildings, the only difference will eventually be that if you have any major alterations and additions and if as you say you only have 15 amp capacity Mains electricity the Electrician will replace your old fuse boards etc and consumers mains with modern standardized fittings and lighting and power conductors of modern requirements and Supply new mains incoming cables of possible 70 amps capacity single phase etc. That will and does vary with the size and type of premises and requirements subject to in each installation. There are also "Smart Electricity Meters" which are being compulsory installed in customers premises to do away with the Electrical supply companies having to send employees out to each premises to read your electrical usage on Watt Meters in your Meter box at each interval of payment time. These Smart Meters (if you believe they are smart which to be honest I'm skeptical) are read automatically by sending the information back through the wiring to a Billing location.

    If you're concerned that you have no spare fuse tops I would suggest you attempt to get some spares from junk shops, second hand building supplies etc. and keep them as replacements. Insurance companies basically cannot force you into replacing the fuse boards unless the Company has to pay out on any claims they consider "could" have been caused by the existing control equipment. What the do is either force you to update or make your Insurance premium so expensive that you won't re-insure with them or you'll follow their compulsory directions and update your installation.

    Source(s): Electrician, Electrical Contractor for 50 years.
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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    You should have domestic electrical wiring in house tested by an electrician. Because it works is not on its own a safe way to say your original wiring is fit for use today.

    Most domestic wiring is now rated at 13 amp, you may find that there is no electrical continuity for a fault current, so you will need earth bonds etc. Circuit breakers will give you the option to reset if they are tripped, it will probably take a qualified electrician no more then 90 mins max to change the ceramic box to circuit breakers, how ever you probably need the whole place rewired only an inspection could say for sure 3 bed domestic house allow 3 to 4 days to completely rewire and test

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  • Pro
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    I would think the fuses will be around but you may have to purchase on the internet etc.This depends on your location, in NJ your home owners insurance can dictate that you must update your fuse box or else they will drop your policy. The bigger problem besides being forced is the safety factor, you most likely have no grounding system and have no GFCI outlets.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    You should have domestic electrical wiring in house tested by an electrician.

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  • 9 years ago

    I would earnestly urge you to get your house rewired.

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