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Old 03-19-2013, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default How can I tell what my main panel is?

Hoping to upgrade to an e-brew setup this year. We have a fuse box instead of a breaker panel and the swmbo has vetoed the idea of upgrading the panel just for me to brew with. So, I'm trying to figure out what amperage my main panel is. What should I be looking for?

I know that I have one 20a circuit and one 15a circuit to use in my workshop and it's possible that I could get the 15a upgraded to a 20a service. But if I'm going to be paying a dude to run wire and upgrade I was thinking just putting in a 50a outlet might be cheaper as the main panel as about 18" away on the other side of a wall.

Just hoping that this idea doesn't get priced out of "oh hell no" range at the outset.

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Old 03-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #2
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You probably have 60 amp service running into the house.

You can tell by looking at the amperage of you main fuse in the fusebox.

There are many many other reasons for upgrading your service. Safety and adding to the value of the home would be the first to come to mind.

Do you have problems making coffee and toast at the same time without blowing fuses?

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Old 03-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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I closed the access door and saw that it read "100 amp panel" would that indicate 100a service? There are two big fuse holders that have two 35a tube fuses each; so the biggest service looks to be 70a.

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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I am going to enter a caveat here that I am NOT a professional electrician.

but

It would probably indicate that you have 100 amp service, which was normal residential capacity from the early 1950s to the mid-1960.

Are either of the double 35 amp fuses the main fuse?

I'm going to wager that, if you have an electric stove and clothes dryer, 1 of those double fuses is for the stove and the other is for the dryer.

If your service is 100 amp, the main fuse should be 100 amp.

If you want to run a line for brewing, at 50 amps, a new socket for a 50 amp fuse would have to be added to the panel (if they are even available) and the appropriate gauge wire is needed to run to your brew rig. I believe 6 gauge is appropriate. It is about $1.50 /foot and not easy to work with. Rule of thumb is that your wire should be rated for 125% of the load you will put on it. Ever looked in your toaster when you use it? The wires glow to toast the bread. That is what they would do in the walls o your house if they couldn't handle the load you were using them for. That would be ummmmm.... bad.

I would certainly use an electrician in your case. It is not worth burning down your house. It is also not fun getting whacked by 240 volts. It is going to cost a few hundred dollars. Ask for a quote to run a new line for brewing and one to upgrade your service. Compare the difference and decide whether or not it is worth it.

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:35 PM   #5
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My recommendation is to find an electrician buddy who likes beer. Let him do the electrical work for beer. You buy any parts. Both are winners & no electrocution or house fires!

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Old 03-20-2013, 02:49 PM   #6
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the Panel label is for the Max load. There is probably a main at the top of the panel, look at the amp rating on that fuse.

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
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Drat, can't see it without pulling it. I'll find a time when I can shut off the whole house and pull it.

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Old 03-21-2013, 12:46 PM   #8
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Pulling it WILL shut off the whole house.

Something tells me that calling an electrician may be in your best interests.

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Old 03-22-2013, 04:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VonMessa View Post
It would probably indicate that you have 100 amp service, which was normal residential capacity from the early 1950s to the mid-1960.
I wouldn't go by that... My rental was built mid-50's and only has a 60 amp service. The duplex's we rent down the street were built in the early 80's and have 200amp service, but my house built 10 years later and 3 doors down only has a 100amp service.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shockerengr View Post
I wouldn't go by that... My rental was built mid-50's and only has a 60 amp service. The duplex's we rent down the street were built in the early 80's and have 200amp service, but my house built 10 years later and 3 doors down only has a 100amp service.
Hence the disclaimer of me not being a professional electrician.
I changed my service from 60 amp fuses to 200 amp breakers, to include new ground spike, service entrance cable, grounds to plumbing, meter socket and replacement of knob/tube wiring and receptacles/switches throughout the house, right up to running the new service-entrance cable to the mast head. When it came time to connect it to the street line, that is where I called an electrician.


It was the norm in those years, but not a hard and fast rule to go by. 100 amp written on the box is a good indication, though.

Bottom line is that, if one is having a difficult time even determining what the amperage of one's service is, it is probably best to get an electrician involved. There is no shame in not wanting to get electrocuted or burn one's house down and it would certainly NOT be worth the savings of doing it one's self.
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