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liberty610 12-05-2009 11:23 AM

New home owner - Main break box questions...
Hey all,

I just recently bought a home with my g/f last year, and a relative of mine who is a general contractor/heating & air tech did a inspection for us this weekend. We have found MANY qwerks with this house, as it belonged to the same family for over 45 years, and was a barn converted into a house many aes ago.

The breaker box for our electric was done before we bought the place, and my relative saw some concerns with it. The way it is wired, is there are several rooms on one breaker, and several appliances running on breakers with other appliances.

Basicaly, the kitchen, garage, and basement all seem to be on one breaker. All 3 upstairs bedrooms and the upstairs bath room are all on one breaker, and it appears that the only 2 things that are on thier on switches are the well pump (well water), and the central air unit.

Should be consider have him re-wire the entire box? He was suggestiong that all major appliances are on thier own break and to seperate the rooms up a bit as well...

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Scuba_Dave 12-05-2009 11:39 AM

Older homes multiple rooms & lights were on the same breaker
What appliances are on the same breaker.....that's a pretty generic term as a 50a stove is an appliance

Once you start to rewire you will need to upgrade as you go to meet all current codes
GFCI in bathrooms, kitchen, garage, possibly basement, AFCI's all over
Dedicated runs to bathroom, 2 to kitchen, laundry

A lot has changed in 45 years as far as code & electric needs in a house

Billy_Bob 12-05-2009 11:48 AM

When I bought my house, it took every cent I had! So I was broke for awhile.

If you have the money, go for it! But the neat thing about electrical wiring is you can do a little at a time if you want.

A modern electrical system can have 8 or more breakers just for the kitchen, each room on its own breaker, and additional circuits for power hogs like a window air conditioner, heater in the bathroom, outside outlets, etc.

So first I would determine if your breaker panel has enough spare slots for more circuits or not? How many spare slots?

And what the total amperage is of the main panel?

Then do you have electric or another type of heat?

Electric clothes dryer?

Any plans to add a room, buy an electric kiln, power tools, RV, central air conditioning, etc.? (Things which would use a lot of electricity...)

Then are you currently having problems with breakers tripping? Which?

Saturday Cowboy 12-05-2009 01:21 PM

What you have stated(tho a little lacking in depth) is legal and was standard practice in the day. While it might be less than desired (I hate tripping one breaker and having to stumble thu a dark house) there are no problems that I see.

Speedy Petey 12-05-2009 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by liberty610 (Post 361690)
Should be consider have him re-wire the entire box? He was suggestiong that all major appliances are on thier own break and to seperate the rooms up a bit as well...

You do not need to re-wire "the box". You need to re-wire the house. It is not the panel's fault that so many things are on one circuit.

At the very least, running a few new circuits should be a start.

liberty610 12-07-2009 04:38 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. We are not tripping any breakers at all (yet). But there is only 2 of us that live here right now, and we both work seperate schedules, so there is usualy only 1 of us here 80% of the time.

I looked at the box itself, and it was last inspected in 2006. We bought the house last year, so I know its ok as far as legal goes. I was just wondering because we are working on getting a lot of our appliances updated. We started with the dishwasher last year, and plan on getting a new hot water tank, new fridge, and new washer/dryer all energy compliant.

One thing that was a concern to my cousin (who did the inspection) was we have 2 spots in the house (attick and one of the bedroom closets) where there are bare un-covered wires hanging out of what looks like un-finished lighting fixures. Also, in the bedrooms there use to be skontlet(sp) lights built in the wall back in the day, and it appears they turned all of them but one into regular outlets (witch is a regular around the bedrooms). Only thing is, in the main bedroom, there are 2 they turned to outlets, and trhen wall papered over them. This is a saftery issue, yes?

Scuba_Dave 12-07-2009 04:51 PM

If they wallpapered over outlets yeah that's a concern
All boxes where connections are made must be left accessible

liberty610 12-07-2009 05:06 PM

Ok, I'll for sure get that portion of the wallpaper rip off soon then. We plan on changing at lot as far as cosmetic work goes anyways. Rather be safe then sorry lol.

InPhase277 12-07-2009 05:08 PM

A General Contractor/HVAC Tech has no business doing any electrical outside of an A/C unit. Call an electrician.

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