How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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Are old fuse boxes illegal?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

There are a number of good reasons to consider replacing an old screw-in type fuse panel, but they are not illegal and replacement is not required by the building or electrical codes. Here’s what you should know:

1) Insurance may be difficult. Many insurance companies will not issue a policy for a home with an old fuse panel. Because any home with a fuse panel is over 50 years old, an insurance company will require that a four-point inspection be performed, which will identify that a fuse panel is present in the home.

2) Old wiring. If there’s a fuse panel, the house also has very old wiring, possibly even knob-and-tube type, and the amperage rating of the panel is likely inadequate for the level of electricity usage in a home today. Updating of the wiring may also be necessary when replacing the panel. See our blog post Is knob and tube wiring illegal? for more details.

3) Some fuse panels can be overfused - The fuse sockets in very old fuse panels will accept any size fuse, which makes it possible to install a fuse too large for the rating of the wiring of the circuit it serves. This is one way that electrical fires start, and why insurance companies are often leery of fuse panels. Tne National Electrical Code (NEC) addresses this problem, with specific remedies listed, but the fixes would enforceable as part of a home remodeling. To read more about it, go to our blog post What are the code requirements for an old fuse panel/box? 

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about FUSE PANELS:

Should I buy a house with a fuse panel/box?

Why is a fuse box/panel an insurance problem for homebuyers?

Why are old electrical components not always "grandfathered" as acceptable by home inspectors?

Why is an old fuse panel dangerous?  

• Does a home inspector expect the  electrical system of an older house to meet current code standards? 

When did circuit breakers replace fuses in homes?

Visit our ELECTRIC PANELS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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