REO! Older house! Fuse Box! How do you handle this?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage

fuse box

Another REO property came in for me to go take care of.  It's a 1959 built house with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  That's because someone added on in 1979 and added a second bath to what was originally 1.5 baths.

Anyway, to get the power turned on, the power company says have all the breakers in OFF position.  This house has a fuse box!  So what the heck do you do with a fuse box?  Unscrew the fuses?  Surely fuses can't be controlling the central heat and air?  There must be other boxes.

I'm old but not old enough to know fuse boxes.  I can vaguely remember parents saying that if the fuse goes out put a penny behind it and then others saying that will cause the house to burn down! 

So if any of you home inspectors can help, send me info PDQ! 

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Ambassador
1,083,467
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Barbara, just pull out those two black thingies at the top----that should do it.  If you are nervous as to whether everthing is off for sure---you can take out all the screw type fuses as well.  Make sure you have a flashlight when you do it:)

Oct 29, 2008 07:21 PM #1
Rainmaker
302,065
AJ Heidmann
McEnearney Associates, Inc. - Alexandria, VA
YOUR Alexandria & Arlington, VA Real Estate Expert

I agree with Charles, pull the top 2 black, square fuses, which will cut power to the fuses below and the rest of the house. 

Oct 29, 2008 08:47 PM #2
Rainer
84,150
Mike Parks
Residential Building Inspectors - Circleville, OH
Inspector

You need to look inside this panel.

Have an electrician look inside. There maybe 'taps' of the main, since you stated the updates have been made.

Oct 29, 2008 09:13 PM #3
Rainmaker
719,475
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Charles, you PULL them OUT, not flip them?  Thanks for the rapid help.

AJ & Jodee, you are also saying pull them OUT, not flip.  As a matter of fact, I tried flipping them and they didn't seem to move.  Thanks!

Mike, you just made it more complex.  "Taps" of the main?????   What does that mean in language for a slow person?  Thanks for help.

Oct 29, 2008 09:18 PM #4
Rainer
84,150
Mike Parks
Residential Building Inspectors - Circleville, OH
Inspector

Read my email.

Oct 29, 2008 09:27 PM #5
Rainmaker
198,270
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI
Real Estate

Yikes, call an electrician because you won't get paid if the house blows up or burns down. LOL Also while he is there he can give you a written estimate to upgrade to a circuit breaker system.

Oct 30, 2008 08:24 AM #6
Rainmaker
719,475
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Mike, thanks for off line answer!!

Mary, you bring up a really GOOD reason for getting it checked! 

Oct 30, 2008 10:09 AM #7
Rainmaker
719,475
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Charles and Mike, the power got turned on today.  I went over and flipped a few switches.  Most of the lights that had bulbs in them worked. (I think we're going to be going into another era of missing light bulbs.  When people pay good money for those expensive little curly bulbs they take them with them!) 

And the thingie, Charles, at the top does pulll out!! What a revelation.  I was so scared I quickly put it back in!

So the house didn't blow up or burn down yet.  Thanks for your help.

Oct 30, 2008 04:45 PM #8
Ambassador
1,491,696
Michael Thornton
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297

It looks as if you found the solution to your problem. I hope that the other inspectors helped...

Oct 31, 2008 05:29 PM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
vickie

I recently had my power turned off. I also have older fuse box. Originally had glass fuses. Anyway, when power was turned back on, now the overhead light fixture above my sink, the light bulb had blown. I replaced it and it still won't come on. I went in basement and saw that the last glass fuse was blown also. I replaced it-30 amp and it blew right away. I was having absolutely no trouble b4 my service was turned off. This same fuse controls where I have an outlet that has a toothbrush charger plugged in and a wall clock, same things as were plugged in b4 service went off. The cords are good, no defects. I had the switch in off position when I replaced the fuse. The fuses are 2 for $4 and I only have one left, or it is back to the store again.

My fuse box also contains 2 quite large boxy type units which can both be pulled out and pushed back in. When the new fuse blew, I removed it, then unplugged each of these large units and pnly waited maybe 5-10sec and then plugged them back in. I did one at a time, thinking maybe that resets things. I really don't understand what they are for. I was ad-libbing; I have no true electrical training.

Aug 20, 2009 06:16 AM #10
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Rainmaker
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Barbara S. Duncan

CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR
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