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Posted: 10/5/2004 4:45:48 PM EST
So I am renting this older house and one of the water heater fuses blew. I went to the fuse box assembly. I have to call it an assembly cause there is not one nice tidy box with breakers to flip back on, but rather about 8 screw in type plug fuses in three different ghetto boxes with really old braided nylon covered wire running between them. Well anyways, the box I need to replace the fuse in has two fuses for the water heater. Ok, fine only one is burned out. I sat and debated whether or not I should attempt to shut off the power to this box before the swap for about five minutes. I finally decided to chance it cause the really ghetto knife switches inside the box with no rubber handles made me feel more uneasy then shocking the shit out of myself with the fuse. I am not talking about the big gray switch you see everywhere, but like 8th grade science fair shit that is about 3 inches long and made of copper.

This brings us to my question. Should I turn off the power next time before I put in the fuse? I didn't really see much go on. Just about like putting in a light bulb with the switch on, a little spark.

One would think an electrical engineer could figure something like this out, but all I remember about school is we did a lot of math problems. Hell I'm only about 4 months into the real world.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 4:53:57 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 4:55:51 PM EST
Where they "bus" type or glass screw in? If bus type, you should remone the power... Though rule #1 is always turn off the power. The old glass screw in type, just spin in a new one.

Future plan, get a 200 amp service/breaker box to update with.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 4:56:00 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:00:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 5:01:16 PM EST by ar-wrench]
From your description of the wiring in that house, the whole place is a structure fire waiting to happen.

If you do nothing else (except move, of course) at least put a working smoke detector on each floor, and one in the room where you sleep.

Ratty old wiring is dangerous, please stay safe.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:08:20 PM EST
Get an NEC book, this will help you on whats up to code or not, if your renting, I would find a new
place to live, most state and city codes require an 100 amp service box, if its a house that you
bought, get the books out and learn or best yet make friends with an electrician their like
mechanics they are always willing to horse trade for something
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:23:06 PM EST
Like PointTarget said, get the NEC (National Electric Code) book. We have been shipping the newest printing for the last couple of weeks so they should be in stock now or very soon. It should answer any question about wiring you can think of. As far as the cost, I don't know, I just ship the books that the front of the factory prints and binds.

Seriously though, get an electrician to look at your wiring and recommend needed improvements.

Don in Ohio
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:24:52 PM EST
Don't forget renters insurance.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:30:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By SBR7_11:
Where they "bus" type or glass screw in? If bus type, you should remone the power... Though rule #1 is always turn off the power. The old glass screw in type, just spin in a new one.

Future plan, get a 200 amp service/breaker box to update with.



I am not sure, they have a little glass window where you can see if it is burned or not, They look like the metal part on the bottom of a lightbulb if you just cut it off there.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:35:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 5:43:53 PM EST by JB69]
I'm an electrician, There's ALWAYS a reason....

No offence, but electrical ENGINEERING is nowhere even close to real world applications, involving ELECTRICAL work.... Two way different things... The theory is the same, but it ends about there.

I've seen so many 'engineers' do extremely stupid things in regards to house wiring that it truly frightens me sometimes.... How they didn't burn their houses down is just beyond comprehension.

Seriously, Call someone to determine WHY the fuse blew....

Fuses don't "just blow"

Most likely the heating element has gone bad and/or the thermostat.

Quite possibly a short is involved, so you do NOT want to go plugging in a new fuse with the power on.

Unless you like a nice big arcflash in your face....

Please don't take stupid chances.... Turn the power off via the Main disconnect to the house, then replace the fuse(s) if when you turn the mains back on, it blows again, you need to call an electrician.

JB

p.s. Don't waste your money on the NEC codebook..... trust me... It's not written in any sort of manner that your average person could understand, much less FIND the applicable sections of.

The book is HUGE, and there's no 'order' to it.. It's something that one really needs instruction to even begin to understand. That's exactly why we have to take code classes.

You'd just be wasting your money, honestly.....


ETA: If you absolutely are determined to fiddle with it, and have any other questions, IM me...
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 5:46:27 PM EST
What he said. I would tell the landlord that you have a problem with the water heater. Water heaters usually have 2 elements and they put one of them on each line. If you have one fuse that blows on a regular basis, it is usually the element. I doubt it is the wiring. Wiring doesn't just go bad. As far as a short goes, you probably don't have one. They usually don't fix themselves.
Don't buy the code book unless you are having trouble sleeping. Trust me on this one.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:41:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By JB69:
No offence, but electrical ENGINEERING is nowhere even close to real world applications, involving ELECTRICAL work.... Two way different things... The theory is the same, but it ends about there.



I jus thought it would be a funny side note. I wasn't trying to act like I new how to wire a house. My father has been an electrician for 25 years and I tried to call him, but he must be working swing shift.

On a side note, if electrical engineering has nothing to do with the real world, how did you post you post your message?
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:51:39 PM EST
Take it from me, don't accidentally stick your thumb in one of those sockets while changing the fuse.

It stings.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:06:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 7:08:42 PM EST by JB69]

Originally Posted By enigma2y0u:

Originally Posted By JB69:
No offence, but electrical ENGINEERING is nowhere even close to real world applications, involving ELECTRICAL work.... Two way different things... The theory is the same, but it ends about there.



I jus thought it would be a funny side note. I wasn't trying to act like I new how to wire a house. My father has been an electrician for 25 years and I tried to call him, but he must be working swing shift.

On a side note, if electrical engineering has nothing to do with the real world, how did you post you post your message?



I wasn't trying to slam you..... Sorry If you took it the wrong way. Just trying to make the distinction

Also, you misread my sentence there, I meant electrical 'engineering' and electrical 'work' (ie Wiring and trade related , etc) are two different things. Which they very much are.


Nowhere there did I say Elec. Engineering has nothing to do with the 'real world' as you bring up...

I said the theory is the same, but beyond that, it's two very different worlds.


Honestly just trying to be helpful, no need to snap back..... Wasn't meant to be an insult.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:11:27 PM EST
None taken, I appologize, I count 7 bottle of beer sitting next to my laptop so things come out easier that way. Thank you for your help though. Hopefully I get out of this place in the spring. My GF is still in school though, I hate to buy a house if she can't get a job here. Guess we could always sell it.

BTW, to whoever posted about renters insurance, how much is it?
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:15:09 PM EST
Another electrician chiming in. The Code is great, but I don't think you'll need to worry about Class 1 Div I wiring, or the construction requirement for LV cable TV systems (no offense inteded, pointtarget). If you were studying to become a spark, I'd recommend the NEC Handbook as a study guide with the Code anyway.

I'll recommend 2 books for you. I got one* from my dad, and they're what I started out with when I was rewiring my house - many years before doing it for real hire.

There's a book called Practical Electrical Wiring by Herbert P. Richter and W. Creighton Schwan, published by McGraw-Hill. It's a great beginning to intermediate book on electrical installations of various types. It's about $60.

www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0960329498/qid=1097035515/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_2_1/102-8926307-2347324

There's also a book* called Wiring Simplified - intended primarily for homeowners who want to do small scale electrical repairs and changes. It's about $9.

www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/096032948X/qid=1097035515/sr=2-2/ref=pd_ka_2_2/102-8926307-2347324

Both books are based on the current (2002) National Electrical Code. The Black and Decker / Home Depot / Lowe's books are ok, but these two are updated every 3 years with every new version of the code, to keep folks informed. The other's are updated whenever they run out of books, and have to make more.

Oh, and +1 for the smoke detectors on every level of the house. (FF/medic as other job)
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:38:10 PM EST

Don't forget renters insurance.


Around here it is about five bucks a month. The policy I had covered theft, fire and liability IIRC. Look around the place. I couldn't afford to replace all my clothes and household stuff if something happened so I figured I couldn't afford not to have it.
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