Upgrade electric?
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Upgrade electric? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 1, 2019 8:06 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Opinionated [NC]) Feb 1, 2019 8:15 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by David [MI]) Feb 1, 2019 8:16 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Robin [WI]) Feb 1, 2019 8:21 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Otis [IL]) Feb 1, 2019 8:22 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 1, 2019 8:23 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by David [MI]) Feb 1, 2019 8:24 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by WMH [NC]) Feb 1, 2019 8:56 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Vee [OH]) Feb 1, 2019 9:14 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Robert J [CA]) Feb 1, 2019 9:28 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by CGB [MI]) Feb 1, 2019 9:28 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by plenty [MO]) Feb 1, 2019 9:30 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 1, 2019 9:56 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Barb [MO]) Feb 1, 2019 11:35 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by LisaFL [FL]) Feb 1, 2019 11:45 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 1, 2019 12:26 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Feb 1, 2019 12:36 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Feb 1, 2019 12:44 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by myob [GA]) Feb 1, 2019 12:59 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by Ken [NY]) Feb 1, 2019 1:48 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by DJ [VA]) Feb 1, 2019 3:38 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by DAvid [NC]) Feb 1, 2019 5:53 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Feb 1, 2019 6:01 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by CX [WA]) Feb 1, 2019 6:28 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by RentsDue [MA]) Feb 1, 2019 6:37 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by Rich [PA]) Feb 2, 2019 5:31 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Feb 2, 2019 5:32 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by GlennH [NC]) Feb 3, 2019 5:25 PM
       Upgrade electric? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Feb 6, 2019 9:06 AM
       Upgrade electric? (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Feb 6, 2019 9:13 AM

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Upgrade electric? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:06 AM
Message:

I've got several cheapie homes ($25K) that have fuse panels, all of which are in good, working condition. Insurance runs about $300/year higher due to my main carrier (Shelter) not wanting to hold those policies: the farm them out to Foremost or Agis and I pay a premium for that.

I just got an upgrade quote from a licensed electrician. The cost for a city-permitted job is $2,900. This includes GFIs in kitchen/bath, hard-wired smoke detectors, new service panel, but existing wiring left in place.

My time to recoup that cost is almost 10 years. Bleh. I want upgrades to pay me back in 3 years or less.

The one house I'm considering now has gas heat and gas cook stove. It has two 220V circuits with cartridge fuses: one for clothes dryer and large window AC. In addition to those, we have 4 circuits (2 at 20 amp, 2 at 30 amp) with twist-in fuses. We're not blowing any fuses, and there's nothing that absolutely needs to be upgraded to handle any additional load. This is a smaller (800 sq ft) home, solid Class C hood. For AC, we'll use window units: a big one (13,000 btu) in the Living room on the 220V circuit and a small one (110V, 5000 btu) in the back bedroom (2 bed house).

I intend to keep this long-term as a rental and was thinking it might be less hassle with breakers, but there aren't really any hassles today and the cost recovery period is triple my normal.... I'm at a cross road here.

Thoughts? --173.20.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Opinionated [NC]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:15 AM
Message:

Fuses are actually the better protection. But now available at fewer places when replacements are needed. Frustrated tenants will tamper with equipment when replacement fuses are not at hand- and will often use the wrong size fuse.

The quoted price is very high for my area. --66.44.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by David [MI]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:16 AM
Message:

"The cost for a city-permitted job is $2,900. This includes GFIs in kitchen/bath, hard-wired smoke detectors, new service panel, but existing wiring left in place."

Ouch. I have a full service electrical contractor that charges me just under $1k for a new service panel. I can't imagine adding a couple GFIs and smoke detectors would need to cost another $1k, much less $2k.

I would consider asking for a few more quotes, having them itemize the costs. --199.247.xx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:21 AM
Message:

Seems high to me too, even with permits. What if you didn't run the hard-wired smoke detectors? --204.210.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Otis [IL]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:22 AM
Message:

I’m not a big permit type guy. Safe and to code yes. I’ve had this happen before and this is what I did.

Had my “heavy hitter $25/hr guy” replace the fuse box with a new breaker panel. He does great work but is not technically a certified electrician. He does all the work and then pays one of his certified electrician buddies $200 to come check everything out. No permit pulled so the city doesn’t come in and poke their nose around. Think you might be able to pull something like this off? --45.18.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:23 AM
Message:

Thanks everyone so far.

Everything mentioned in the bid is required by city code. Gotta do it.

I'm getting more bids. I'm mainly curious if you all have other reasons besides pay back period. Safety obviously...tenants can do the "put a penny under the fuse" trick and burn the house down. Anything else? --173.20.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by David [MI]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:24 AM
Message:

Note that I'm assuming "GFIs in kitchen/bath" means replacing regular outlets with GFIs as needed (upstream outlets only), and not adding new outlet boxes --199.247.xx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 8:56 AM
Message:

Definitely get more quotes! Yikes. --50.82.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 9:14 AM
Message:

In my area we have to use the inserts that have coarse and fine threads so you can't get a 20amp in a 15amp wired circuit, these fuses are expensive for someone. The load center job costs about 1000-1300 depending on existing grounding, hopefully some shopping can help you get work done at competitive prices, I do much of this work at my own places and my agent takes pictures of the load center and meter socket outside, I add new cable to kitchens and bathrooms for the gfci outlets, and recently began adding outlets with charging ports.

--76.188.xxx.x




Upgrade electric? (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 9:28 AM
Message:

Here in Los Angeles, back in the 1950's, when a fuse would blow, tenants would put pennies in the fuse space and then screw back in the fuse -- this completing the circuit and have no protection. So the City passed an ordinance that an owner could swap out the fuse with the same rated breaker without a permit.

So in my 4 unit, 5 unit, 8 unit and 16 unit apartment buildings that still had fuses, I replace them with circuit breakers of the same rating.

When the City learned I had done this, without permits, they ordered me to completely replace the panels, wiring and outlets with permits or face the "music".

The City employee's were to young to know and forgot about this ordnance. So they took me to a hearing before a real judge. I put

"egg" all over their faces. They called me a liar and incompetent want-a-be landlord handyman. The judge asked what were my qualifications. I showed him my City, State and Federal Electrical licenses plus my degrees. I had more experience under my belt than they did.

You should check into your Cities past rules on fuse replacement. You never know what you will find. Maybe a reduction in permit fee's. If not, contact your local representative and ask for special consideration on permit costs. --47.156.xx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by CGB [MI]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 9:28 AM
Message:

I do things that make me sleep better at night and not necessarily just "for profit." I would feel uncomfortable with fuses in a house rented in a class c neighborhood. --73.145.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 9:30 AM
Message:

I do these types of improvements. It's akways served me to do it --99.203.xx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 9:56 AM
Message:

Sid,

I normally pay around $1,800.00 to upgrade an ancient 100 amp fuse box to a modern 200 amp breaker box. I am like CGB, I would feel very uncomfortable having an old fuse box inside a house with Class C tenants. Plus, if you want to add Central Heat/Air in the future, then you will appreciate having the modern breaker box already in place. Make sure the electrician leaves a min. of 6 open slots for future use. If any of your tenants are using 1,500 watt space heaters, have your electrician do some 'home-run' circuits just for those heaters. --68.63.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 11:35 AM
Message:

I would do it to help myself sleep at night.

I’d also have him run some dedicated outlets for the living rom TV, family computer, etc. have them done in a different color to point out they are special for the tech. --64.251.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 11:45 AM
Message:

I agree the price sounds high. I've never paid more than $1000-$1500 for a panel upgrade. --216.186.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 12:26 PM
Message:

Sid,

Do you sleep at night knowing all of your houses have fuse boxes and brainless Class C tenants plugging-in everything that can be plugged-into the wall outlets? --68.63.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 12:36 PM
Message:

You're about $1500 just for the panel in Pa prices. So probably not too far off for the other stuff with labor for running circuits for hard wired smokes.

You said 10 years to recoup your money? Why? $2,900/110 months is $24 a month. Is that your current cash flow on the property? Just trying to understand your math.

I know you don't, but just one more reason I DIY. Recovery time is much faster. --74.46.xx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 12:44 PM
Message:

Sid. I NEVER pull permits on electrical panels if the amperage of the panel stays the same or the line from the house will support the upgrade from 100amp to 200amp for example. There is a difference in wire size in regards to what feeds your house.

I can't tell you how many we've done this way.

A good electrical can swap a panel with his eyes shut.

If I have to upgrade the line from the pole to the house, that involves a disconnect/reconnect from the power company, as well as the power company running that new line. So that will require an inspection sticker and confirmation from the inspector calling in to power company. Hard to get around that one. --74.46.xx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 12:59 PM
Message:

I'll have to agree with most here-- safety item and sleep at night. Ok maybe 10 years to recoup expense but if you sell it could be a major sales pitch that you've upgraded and with the CO to boot from the inspection dept.

Down side is always the city comes in and starts looking at everything else.. bummer. --99.103.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 1:48 PM
Message:

Seems high to me but I don't have to do all the additional work.Can you find someone at a better price that you will promise 5 jobs anytime he is available with 1-2 days of notice? --72.231.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 3:38 PM
Message:

Did you say you are currently out of compliance regarding the city code?

I would probably go ahead and upgrade and tell the tenants it's their anniversary gift/thanks for being good tenants (I hope), and you want things safe for them, etc - to soften the impending rise in rent to help pay for it.

Can you get any more rent for the upgrade? --68.10.xxx.x




Upgrade electric? (by DAvid [NC]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 5:53 PM
Message:

Sell the houses and buy a better house.

Upgrade! :-) --65.188.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 6:01 PM
Message:

Sid, my original thoughts were similar to David-NC. If cash flow is that strapped for 10 years for the electrical repairs, dump the house. What happens when other things go wrong in that house in the next 10 years? --74.46.xx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by CX [WA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 6:28 PM
Message:

SID, My thinking had been similar to yours. Fusebox-- Looks OK, no real problems, OK to let it ride... Maybe upgrade at some later date.

Except: Upon further closer inspection I found serious age-related (common) defects.

The plastic (bakelite?) and fiber materials deteriorate and are NLA.

One of the cartridge pullouts (this one for the 220V oven) crumbled as I pulled it out, leaving the cartridge fuses dangling halfway out of the fusebox. Scorch and arc marks visible on the prongs, meaning that the plastic housing had already previously lost its spring pressure on the embedded copper prongs.

Also the plug fuse sockets have thin insulating fiber washers that weaken and crumble away over time, allowing unfused current to pass even if the plug fuse is completely unscrewed and out of the socket. This presented a grave fire risk, for example if the tenant plugged in two space heaters into the same circuit that would for sure overheat the wiring and could lead to fire.

That has changed my thinking. If I encounter an old fusebox, unless it checks out PRISTINE, PRISTINE, I will upgrade. Probably will upgrade anyway as the general population are ever using more and more electrical devices, straining marginal systems more and more.

Fuses in theory are fine; but some of the materials used in the old fuseboxes are not durable and are at the time for replacement. Same as galvanized plumbing 50-60 year lifespan, which I have found to be true as clockwork.

ROY shared some GOOD info for modest upgrades when switching fusebox to circuit breakers, I would follow them.

If you ever plan to sell the house, old fusebox is a pretty hard sell, getting harder every day. --174.21.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by RentsDue [MA]) Posted on: Feb 1, 2019 6:37 PM
Message:

Do you have a vocational school with an electrical program in your area? Cost effective and more reliable than today’s average contractor. They even show up sober. Here they graduate with at least half of their classroom and apprentice hours and are very well supervised. --71.10.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by Rich [PA]) Posted on: Feb 2, 2019 5:31 AM
Message:

At some point , you will likely want to sell this house. The lack of a breaker panel would certainly be factored into the selling price by the new buyer. Similar to replacing a roof, appliances or a furnace; certain items just need to be done without considering the return on outlay. --100.6.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Posted on: Feb 2, 2019 5:32 AM
Message:

2 or 3 pronged outlets throughout house? --73.182.xxx.xxx




Upgrade electric? (by GlennH [NC]) Posted on: Feb 3, 2019 5:25 PM
Message:

Sid,

What about using the fuses with a breaker built into it. You get the convenience of breakers without the cost.

They screw into existing fuse panel and have a reset button on them.

--50.82.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2019 9:06 AM
Message:

The cost of a service runs me about 1000-1,200 for 100 AMP and 1,200-1,400 for a 200 amp service. So factoring that out, does the other work have to be done by the electrician or do you have a solid experienced handy man that can do the gcfi work?

I typically use 4 years for a pay back period for upgrades, but somethings just are the right things to do. Single pane windows on these bread and butter units need to get swapped out, but the pay back is about 6-7 years --72.23.xxx.xx




Upgrade electric? (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2019 9:13 AM
Message:

some things are just the right thing to do regardless of payback periods

200 AMP is a good idea with all the added electronics, cooking toys etc that we all have today and for he robotics of tomorrow --73.182.xxx.xxx



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