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Old 05-12-2010, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,181 posts, read 27,405,934 times
Reputation: 8662

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I'd like to get some opinions on these fuse boxes. One of my neighbors is getting ready to report the owner of the property where I live to Code Enforcement for her plumbing (and other) problems. I'm adding to it with photos.

Ultrarunner will remember the plumbing issue, I'm sure. It was the same problem, and the owner took his sweet time in getting it fixed.
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Fuse Boxes-fuse-box.jpg   Fuse Boxes-fuse-box1.jpg   Fuse Boxes-fuse-box2.jpg   Fuse Boxes-fuse-box3.jpg   Fuse Boxes-fuse-box4.jpg  

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Old 05-12-2010, 04:31 PM
 
27,236 posts, read 55,645,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moved View Post
I'd like to get some opinions on these fuse boxes. One of my neighbors is getting ready to report the owner of the property where I live to Code Enforcement for her plumbing (and other) problems. I'm adding to it with photos.

Ultrarunner will remember the plumbing issue, I'm sure. It was the same problem, and the owner took his sweet time in getting it fixed.
Looks like a simple fix... best would be a new box with circuit breakers... Breakers provide less chance for alteration and self-help measures like putting a penny under a fuse.

I lived in a home with the same panel... the hot and neutral were both fused and switched... was common back in 1920 when the home was built... today, only hots are fused... never neutral.

I can't quite tell from the pictures, but it looks like there at least one wire that is unsecured... which needs to be dealt with at a minimum.

Out of curiosity.... how often does the 30amp fuse blow and I'm assuming their is another panel inside the home? Otherwise, someone has screwed in a 30 amp fuse where a 20 or even a 15 should be... depending on wire size...
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,181 posts, read 27,405,934 times
Reputation: 8662
The 30amp fuse doesn't blow that often, only if you use too electricity at one time. i.e., last month, I had on my tv, space heater, computer, toaster oven and microwave. The microwave blew the fuse, and I normally turn off the space heater and wait with the microwave, but forgot about it. And no, there isn't another panel inside. All the fuse boxes look like that, and another neighbor told me that there wires in the attic of the cottages. I haven't been up in mine, so I don't know about that.

When it gets hot, my neighbors on each side of me turn on the window a/c units, and sometimes the fuses blow, sometimes they don't. I don't have a window unit, don't need one, don't want one. There are ceiling fans in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, and I have a box fan if I get too hot.

How hard would it be to replace the breaker boxes? It's going to be interesting when the owner is contacted by Code Enforcement about the repairs. We also have a major problem with the (incompetent) manager, but that's another thread.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:08 PM
 
27,236 posts, read 55,645,344 times
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Simple Fix for an electrician...

I've upgraded a number of panels from fuse to circuit breakers because some Insurance Companies will no longer insure with fuses... mine insisted I change the Service Disconnects to Breakers.

The real problem is powering 15 and 20 amp circuits with a 30 amp fuse... much of the fire protection is void when circuits are over fused.

Upgrading all the wiring to individual meters could get costly... I think it is the way to go then each tenant would have their own bill and power would no longer be shared.

The last Duplex Service Panel Upgrade I did was $400 for materials... plus two days of my time... 1/2 day for materials and permit... better part of a day for installation and another couple of hours waiting for the inspector to sign off the job... Least expensive bid I received was $1650

A simple 2-circuit breaker box goes for $60 +/- here...

Here's one for $25 plus the cost of the breakers: http://www.thecollegetoolbox.com/webrra125amp.html

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 05-12-2010 at 06:16 PM..
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:02 AM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,181 posts, read 27,405,934 times
Reputation: 8662
The power isn't shared, each unit has an individual gas/electric meter. Each duplex and cottage is billed separately for their unit's gas and electricity. My negihbor claims that there's illegal wiring in the attics of the cottages, so I guess I'll have to get up there and take pictures of that.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:48 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 75,143,119 times
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I don't know, if the power works it is not really a tenant issue. If the place burns down due to an electrical issue you should be covered by your renters insurance. If your insurance carrier then decided to go after the landlord photos like that might be useful to them...

If you get some lightening fast to response to "code enforcement" for something that in the grand scheme of things is pretty insignificant then I guess California's tax problems are no where near as severe as the news would have you believe...
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,181 posts, read 27,405,934 times
Reputation: 8662
You didn't read my post - I'm not contacting Code Enforcement. One of my neighbors is doing it due to the plumbing/sewage problems that the owner took close to three months to get repaired. She had turds floating in the front yard, has snails coming up from her bathtub drain, and has black mold. I'm just supplying more photos. I have photos of the sewage problems that I had between November and January. I'm sure that you wouldn't like your toilet backing up into your bathtub, and not being able to take a shower for a week.
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Northwest Indiana
810 posts, read 2,646,812 times
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Looks like you have a LL that doesn't ever upgrade or update anything. That wiring looks like it could be 70+ years old. My guess is there is nob and tube wiring in addition to the old fuse boxes. That is likely what your neighbor is seeing in the attic.

Nob and tube wiring isn't necessarily unsafe when used properly. However most people don't even know they have it, let alone know how to use it safely. It can be problematic when insulation is packed in around it and when too many things are plugged in and used. Sometimes you get the situation that ultrarunner posted about the use of the wrong fuses in the box. The over amping could be a fire hazard.

The amount of use that most are asking of their electric service nowadays is going to really tax the system you have today. At least you aren't using the a/c.

Looks like the LL really needs to rewire in addition to upgrading to a new box. Nob and tube wiring is only asking for trouble in a rental. I don't see your LL is going to do it willingly on his own due to what its going to cost to do it right. I know the type that don't want to do anything they aren't forced to do.
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,181 posts, read 27,405,934 times
Reputation: 8662
Richb - Thank you for clarifying this. I don't have an a/c unit, and don't want one. If it's only 75 degrees out, it's not hot, anyway. The owner bought these units quite some time ago as investment properties, and he's probably sorry that he did with the amount of maintenance that they need.

A major part of the problem is our paranoid, psychotic manager who doesn't let the owner know that things need to be repaired. So we have to go over his head to get it done.
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Old 05-15-2010, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,772 posts, read 43,246,174 times
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My father was an electrician, I grew up helping him wire buildings, and don't recall seeing anything that antiquated since the 1960's. I would report it to the local building officials. If he has added AC units without upgrading the wiring to support it, it could easily be an unsafe situation. Better to report it then have everyone's possessions and possibly some lives lost.
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