Running another AC line in an old house

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James_Bond_007

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I just moved south. well to my dismay there is a small breaker box on the outside of the house that has room left for only one single breaker and inside the home it has (Ugh) Bus Fuses only 6 for the whole house.

my only option for the radio room is that single empty breaker slot.

is it feasible to get a breaker, wire, and 110v outlets that will handle 110vac @ 30 amps?

the biggest i have seen is 20 amps @ 110 Volt.

i thought maybe we have a licensed electrician here who does this day in and out and would be able to direct me to what i need for the job.

i forgot to look at the breaker box and see what brand it is as i am aware the breakers differ from manufacturers.

i dont need a light or power out in the shed so i may be able to free up another slot.

since my options are limited i would like to make the most of what is available. we have 200 amps coming off the meter/mains so there is plenty there.

i actually have never seen bus and breaker in the same house, it's always been either or, but not both.

luckily for me though i prefer breakers, i hate those damn fuses and if i could easily replace that crap i would.
 

N0IU

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is it feasible to get a breaker, wire, and 110v outlets that will handle 110vac @ 30 amps?
Absolutely! You can get 30 amp single pole breakers for $5 at any "big box" store. Of course you will need to get one that is made for your brand of box. As far as wire, you will need 10 gauge wire for 30 amps.

And yes, you should have an electrician install a modern breaker box for your house. It won't be cheap, but it will be worth it. Even though you could probably do this yourself and no one will ever know, some places require this type of work to be done by a licensed electrician. If you make a mistake and your house burns down, god forbid, you stand a chance that your insurance company may not pay if the work did not meet your local building codes.
 
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shaft

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If you can spare the extra space, might be better to run two dedicated 15 amp runs to your radio room. 30 amps is a lot for one run unless you are putting in some sort of appliance. Plus your room wont be completely dead if you have some sort of strike, or power loss due to a tripped breaker.
 

mikepdx

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Corbett, OR USA
my only option for the radio room is that single empty breaker slot.

is it feasible to get a breaker, wire, and 110v outlets that will handle 110vac @ 30 amps?
It is legal to run a 120VAC 30A circuit,
but the caveat is that it must use a 30A rated outlet.
30A rated outlets @ 120VAC are available,
but are of a different prong configuration for special applications (compressors, RV connections, etc).

I would suggest getting a 'twin' 20A breaker.
It will fit in the single empty breaker slot, and provide two 20A circuits.
You can then use a standard 20A outlet on each of the two new circuits
(They also make 'twin' 15A breakers if you want to go that route).
 

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GrayJeep

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Go buy yourself some of the books about electrical wiring at the local home improvement center. Buy a few. Read them, look at the pictures, look at your setup then read some more.

Then review some of these nightmare home inspection pictures to see how NOT to do it- Home Inspection Nightmares | This Old House

And read some of these stories about service panels- Rust and Corrosion in Electrical Panels, A Study and Report on Water Leaks into Electrical Panels, Frequency and Cause, requiring electrical panel replacement - new electrical panels and circuit breakers - IEEE Holm Conference Proceedings, Daniel Fri

Your panel being fused (rather than breakers) suggests other issues such as very old wiring, corrosion, poorly executed modifications done in the past, etc.

And ask yourself repeatedly if you're getting in way too deep.

I suspect you are. (Because it seems unlikely that you have 200A service provided to what sounds like a very minimal, obsolete, service panel in your house. )

My $.02. (Not a licensed electrician.)
 

James_Bond_007

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my uncle came up with a solution. 40 amp breaker to a sub panel running two 20 amp breakers each with a 4 110v outlet box on it.

can't imagine my radio room sucking more then that.

i had 100 amp service in my last place and i think a dedicated 20 amp circuit and never blew breakers so this will give me headroom.

my uncle inspected the wiring and it is in surprising good shape for being an old house in the south. actually is in better shape then the place i left in jersey.

so a**holes had their hands in that place that the house is an electrical fire waiting to happen.

everything here uses shielded bx wire(if i remember the name correctly) and is laid out and grounded properly.

my uncle worked for alabama power and is a licensed electrician.

thanks for all the replies. i just now got to get the stuff i need to run the wiring.

i have seen crap like this before in southern WVa.
http://www.inspectapedia.com/electric/HolmConf.htm
 
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N_Jay

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I think NEC says that upon installation a breaker box needs 20% open slots.

The rationale is that if it is FULL on day one, then on day 2 someone will probably do something illegal to squeeze in one more circuit. (At least that is how it was explained to me)

http://www.mikeholt.com/
 

sparks40

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I think NEC says that upon installation a breaker box needs 20% open slots.

The rationale is that if it is FULL on day one, then on day 2 someone will probably do something illegal to squeeze in one more circuit. (At least that is how it was explained to me)

The NEC has no such provision. In most new construction i've done, it is fairly common to have only two open slots in a load center, and some guys fill the panel completely. It's not difficult to add a small subpanel, and you may even pigtail onto an existing circuit within the panel that has relatively little load on it.
 

jeffreyinberthoud

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Look on the bright side with a hand held battery powered scanner you can listen to the fire department as they put out your electrical caused house fire
 
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kb0nly

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I have seen the combination of breaker and fuse on some old houses around here too, its not very common as many did the full out conversion and ripped it all out, but its not uncommon to see someone do this as a cheaper sidestep.

For example, one house i did some carpentry work on was like this. They wanted a new service put in underground but the city wouldn't do that for a house with an old fuse panel. So they put a new breaker box in the basement and new meter box outside, the city ran the new 200a service to the meter, and in the house they put in a breaker to feed the old fuse box as a subpanel, then any new circuits added during remodeling were added to the breaker box. They should have spent a few hundred more and moved all the old circuits to the new breaker box but none of the wiring, which was all in good shape and fairly modern, wasn't long enough to and would require junction boxes or changing out a run from the nearest outlet etc.. So they just kept both.

Here in the midwest there is still an ungodly amount of houses with old tube and knob or the slightly newer fabric wrappen NM cable from the 50's. In my house i have redone everything i could, new 200a service, all new Romex throughout, except for two circuits of the old fabric wrapped NM which are low amperage circuits for ceiling lights, it would require busting up walls and ceilings to get access to them, no unfinished attic space to get to the ceilings and no way to get to the wall switches either as most of them are on exterior walls. So i live with it, and put them on a 15a breaker, so the breaker will pop rather fast, low wattage compact flourescent or even LED bulbs to keep the current draw small also helps. In the long run i am not worried about those two circuits remaining, very low risk. However if you have stuff like this feeding outlets in the home its time to do some replacement, since they also do not have a separate ground as modern NM cable does.

As mentioned it also depends on your local codes, but here you can do this stuff as much as you want it just has to be inspected and approved after its done. I rewired my home myself, rather meticulously i might mention, but hired an electrician to do the panel and meter replacement to upgrade the service. They were impressed as how nicely organized the wiring was in the basement and asked who i had hired to do the job, i just laughed before telling them. Once the inspector came and checked everything and put his label on the panel it was case closed. He also commented on the fabric NM and that it was ok for the use it was serving.

Old wiring is not hazardous, modern uses for it are. Tube and knob wiring was and is totally safe, i know some will argue this, but it is safe, its when modern uses pull too much current through it that it causes problems with the splices and connections. Some people around here didn't even know they had it until they burned it up using a modern appliance that overheated it... lol
 
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Thayne

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I guess this old dead horse turned into this old house v2011 :p
 
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