Electrical Wiring / Florida Codes?

I came across this board and it caught my attention and hopefully I can get some good information. I’m a fellow inspector, just in a different field (bridge inspection). I’ve seen lots of wiring but more on an industrial side. I’m not too much familiar with home wiring. This question is regarding my own personal household.

My house was built in 1956. All the wiring is original, including the fuse box in the utility room. All the circuits are 20 amps. The dryer is on a 240v leg, stove is on its own fuses, and the hot water heater is on its own fuse. I don’t have pictures of this box as I forgot to get them when I opened it up.

Outside @ the meter there is a SquareD Qo box right next to the meter can. It’s a 200 amp main, with one 100 amp breaker on it. (Pics to follow).

This 100 amp main feeds the a/c unit in the attic. In the attic there is a small double breaker box where the power gets distributed.

Back to the outside SquareD box: Underneath the 200 amp main someone has ‘tapped’ into and ran 3 wires (240v) through the wall to the existing fuse box 100amp main fuses. From there power gets distributed.

I assume since the a/c was added years before we moved in (I’m guessing around 1994 since the a/c has the date stamped on it) that the SquareD box was added to accomodate the a/c unit.

Here’s a quick view of the box.
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y28/MightyHd/Picture004.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y28/MightyHd/Picture001.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y28/MightyHd/Picture003-1.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y28/MightyHd/Picture010.jpg

I called an electrician. He basically told me the cheapest way out of this mess is to simply strip the inside fuse box out, splice all the wires and run them through the wall to the above pictured breaker box that is outside next to the meter can. If I’m looking at this right there is room for 16 circuits? The 100 amp that is there will stay, two will go for the stove, two for the hot water heater, and two for the dryer, and one dedicated to the generator. This does not leave enough room for my household circuits.

He reassured this would not be a problem. I think it will.

I really don’t understand why I can’t have an electrician simply make the above pictured box “dead” and leave it on the wall (So I don’t have to repaint the side of the house), run the wires from the meter through the other side of the wall to a new breaker box inside the utility room.

I suggested that with a new breaker box and he said around $1600+! It’s less work to simply swap boxes and move the one 100 amp wire from the outside box to the inside box VS splice over 20 circuits and move them outside.

He basically said the meter can would have to be changed, weather head changed, and a ton of other stuff changed around. This does not sound right.

Can anyone offer me any experienced advice–it would be deeeeeply appreciated. :slight_smile:

Thanks

Alex
Central, Fl

Hello Alex,

I can’t answer your questions but I can tell you that you will need to bring it up to current standards before it is time to renew your home owners insurance. If your insurance company finds out about your service the cancellation letter will be in the mail the next day.

Is this a 100 meter or does it say 200cl? That may be why he wants to change the can. Also it appears that the old wiring coming into the 100amp panel does not have any protection as it enters the back of the panel and can short out. The fuses are a bad thing for insurance as well like Greg said.

The insurance company knows about the fuses. We got our homeowners in 2001 and was somehow “grandfathered in”

The meter can has no markings on it–everything was painted over when we moved in and I have since repainted the house–with another coat over the meter can.

The meter says 15 amp, 3 wire and has 4 dials on it.

The wiring that goes to the 100 amp panel is tapped onto the bottom of the 200 amp main in that picture, goes through the wall via a pipe and then enters the fuse box on the other side of the wall.

The wires that are cloth looking feed the a/c unit–those wires go to the 100 amp breaker that is pictured and runs out the top through a 3" pipe. Is that what you are referencing?

Thanks for the fast replies.

For what it’s worth, regarding electrical upgrade, I would put painting at the bottom of page 4 of things to be concerned about.

Absolutely agree. But for what it’s worth now I’ve got to try to get this done right.

Get 3 bids and check references. ANd make sure you get a permit and a final inspection or you will have a hard time with the insurance.

My first question is why would you want to do anything? Are the wires on the 20a fuses all #12? If they are 14 make sure those fuses are 15a. Other than that, if it is working and you are not blowing fuses the fuse box is safer than breakers. A properly sized fuse will blow on an overload. YMMV with a breaker.

From the 4th photo it looks like that panel can handle 20 - 40 circuits. So if I am reading things correctly there should be no problem with having enough circuits with that panel if you wanted to do like the electrician said.

I’m a bit leary of them splicing and moving everything to the outside box. Is it common to splice an entire box?

Why do I want to change it? The inside of the fuse box looks like a 3 year old wired it. A few things double legged, burn marks all on the back of the panel cover, etc.

The wiring in this house whoever did it/hacked it up should be beaten. In the attic I have found bare wires — for example: the main line for the living room cut and spliced into, to add two ceiling fans. Well the wires were bare and burn marks all over the joists. I discovered it when I crawled up there and bumped the line and sparks shot everywhere. Needless to say I got an electrical book and put in junction boxes and properly grounded it.

Other stuff like the stove on two 60amp fuses, dryer was on two 40 amp fuses, other stuff totally hacked up.

At one point in time you could turn on the hair dryer and pop a fuse.

All the wiring in here is 12 gauge except for the obvious of the stove, dryer, hot water and a/c. Most of the bugs are worked out. I’d rather now put in a new breaker box since the other one is completely hacked up.

Ah, another good example is where all the lines come out of the top of the box. The wiring is all attached with metal staples / nails bent over to hold them onto a piece of wood. I guess this is how it was done back then.

I spoke with several other electricians that came and looked at it this week. Most all of them suggested that I do the following:

Leave the outside box as it is-- simply run a new wire for the a/c unit to replace the cloth wire.

Remove the tap on the bottom of the 200 amp main and put in a 100 amp fuse for the inside box.

Replace the inside box with a breaker box – 100 amp 20/20.

Remove the wood with all the wires stapled to it, check the wiring and put them inside a piece of conduit to protect them.

Sounds like a plan.