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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    66

    Default Fuse keeps blowing

    My son recently graduated from Cornell and went to work in White Plains. He is renting an attic apartment that consists of bedroom, living room,kitchen and bathroom.He and his room mate each have window air units. My son also runs his computer along with his air unit. If all three are in use the fuse blows.The fuse box for his apartment is located in the basement along with the two lower apartments boxes.His box contains four fuses.Two 15 amp fuses and two others that are over 15 amp.One 15 amp controls power to the two bed rooms. Would it be safe to plug perhaps the computer to the kitchen outlet since it on the other 15 amp fuse.I am not sure about the laws in New York but shouldn't there be breaker boxes instead of fuses.Who would be responsible should a fire should occur? Who could he contact to have the wiring checked? Naturally the owner does not want to spend to have a professional correct the problem or even examine it.Which is foolish he stands to lose the house.Any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,371

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    The computer draws nearly no electricity. Its the AC units doing all the damage. During the day where peak demand is happening, the power providers often reduce the amperage in order to raise the kilowatts. We call this a brown out. Your paying for the same kilowatts, but they are less powerful due to the lower amperage.

    That aside, the house is under wired / over loaded. Now that you are aware of the situation, buy renters insurance or move. Now that you have posted on line, their lawyer will argue successfully that you knew about the dangerous situation but stayed anyway, and contributed to the problem by continuing to overload the system.

    Use one unit at a time with the doors open and a box fan to spread the cool air. Or move.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,103

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    Old apartments can't meet today's tenants' electric needs.

    Landlords don't want to upgrade their panels, if they aren't required to do so.

    Conclusion: reduce your consumption or find a newr apartment.

    Pray you don't cause a fire, even if you buy renter's insurance. Trust me on that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    Quote Originally Posted by tggringo View Post
    He and his room mate each have window air units. My son also runs his computer along with his air unit. If all three are in use the fuse blows. One 15 amp controls power to the two bed rooms. Would it be safe to plug perhaps the computer to the kitchen outlet since it on the other 15 amp fuse.
    Having lived in the NYC area for 20+ years and seeing that it's an "Attic" apt., your son's landlord is likley a cheap, bast**d who did nothing to code, or inherited the building and did no improvements.

    You answered your own question -- one 15amp circuit for 2 window A/C, and the PC's will draw 65-200w each (laptop or desktop w/ 19" LCD). The landlord probably provided old A/C's with low energy efficiency (the kids are paying their own metered electric, so the LL doesn't care about efficiency). The most efficient A/C's (6,000 BTU) will draw 5.0 amps and old A/C's can draw 6-7 amps.

    The landlord suckered the kids with this situation.

    I lived in a 1950's Manhattan upper east side building, and had a 12 amp A/C on a 15 amp circuit which was precarious (and even time delay fuses would blow). With efficency A/C's, I went to a smaller A/C running at 10 amp continuous.

    Even if the circuit was breakered, the kids would have to turn off something, run to the basement and flip the breaker. Fuses cost about $0.75 each, but the fact they're blowing is telling the kids the circuit is OVERLOADED and dangerous.

    The kids better be paying a dirt cheap rent, or else have to "share" each other's electrical use. Yes, try to off load to other circuits, but watch the extension cords.

    . . . and congradulations on your son graduating from a Ivy League school . . . . Texas politicians have hijacked the national agenda, but many other national figures have traveled through an Ivy undergrad, grad or law school.
    Last edited by t_manero; 07-04-2012 at 06:59 AM. Reason: add paragraph

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    Quote Originally Posted by tggringo View Post
    My son recently graduated from Cornell and went to work in White Plains. He is renting an attic apartment that consists of bedroom, living room,kitchen and bathroom.He and his room mate each have window air units. My son also runs his computer along with his air unit. If all three are in use the fuse blows.The fuse box for his apartment is located in the basement along with the two lower apartments boxes.His box contains four fuses.Two 15 amp fuses and two others that are over 15 amp.One 15 amp controls power to the two bed rooms. Would it be safe to plug perhaps the computer to the kitchen outlet since it on the other 15 amp fuse.I am not sure about the laws in New York but shouldn't there be breaker boxes instead of fuses.Who would be responsible should a fire should occur? Who could he contact to have the wiring checked? Naturally the owner does not want to spend to have a professional correct the problem or even examine it.Which is foolish he stands to lose the house.Any advice.
    The Code has a special provision for room air conditioners on a 15A or 20A branch circuit. It recognizes these appliances have a very high starting current and if protected with a standard quick acting fuse will trip un-necessarily.

    A standard breaker has a time delay which will "ride through the start-up". A type "T" fuse is made for motor loads and will do the same thing. The're available in 15A and may solve your son's problem safely. I've included the applicable section of the 2011 NEC Code:

    440.1 Scope.
    The provisions of this article apply to electric motor-driven air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment and to the branch circuits and controllers for such equipment. It provides for the special considerations necessary for circuits supplying hermetic refrigerant motor-compressors and for any air-conditioning or refrigerating equipment that is supplied from a branch circuit that supplies a hermetic refrigerant motor-compressor.

    440.55 Cord-and-Attachment-Plug-Connected Motor-Compressors and Equipment on 15- or 20-Ampere Branch Circuits.
    Overload protection for motor-compressors and equipment that are cord-and-attachment-plug-connected and used on 15- or 20-ampere 120-volt, or 15-ampere 208- or 240-volt, single-phase branch circuits as permitted in Article 210 shall be permitted as indicated in 440.55(A), (B), and (C).

    (C) Where Lighting Units or Other Appliances Are Also Supplied. The total marked rating of a cord-and-attachment-plug-connected room air conditioner shall not exceed 50 percent of the rating of a branch circuit where lighting outlets, other appliances, or general-use receptacles are also supplied.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    Now that you have posted on line, their lawyer will argue successfully that you knew about the dangerous situation but stayed anyway, and contributed to the problem by continuing to overload the system.

    Use one unit at a time with the doors open and a box fan to spread the cool air. Or move.
    There are to many unknown variables to make this statement true, it might be, but you can't really say that. Who owns the AC units? Have the plugs on the AC units been modified, i.e three prong to two prong? If they have three prong plugs, are the outlets three prong and if so, are they properly grounded, and if so, was the grounded wire put in when fuse boxes were still allowed? In other words, if nothing has been modified, then you can't enforce the new codes in most cases.

    You might be able to enforce the new codes though since the property is being used commercially. That might not work if the landlord lives in the building. You could call the code enforcement there if you want, but I think that you son is the one that has to put in the complaint.

    If your son owns his AC unit and it causes a fire, then he may be held responsible. If the landlord owns the ac units, and they are part of the lease agreement and your son has reported the issue to the landlord and there is a fire, the landlord would likely be held completely responsible, both civil and criminal.

    I don't think there is any danger of a fire though unless your son bypasses the fuse or puts one in that is oversized for the circuit.

    But to answer your question, yes your son could plug his computer into the kitchen outlet, but that might not solve the problem.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    I agree with keith---there are just too many unknown variables in this situation to suggest a solution.

    Who owns the ACs?? What were the terms of the lease/rental agreement?? Do the occupants have a written copy of the lease/rental agreement?? Is the landlord aware that ACs were put in the apt?? Was it done with the LL's approval?? Does the LL own the ACs and agree in writing to provide cooling during the summer months?? Does the LL or the tenant pay the apt electric bill??

    All these questions aside, most if not all rental/lease agreements for attic apts written or unwritten, don't make allowance (neither does the Minimum Housing Code) for temps exceeding a certain high level in the apt during the summer months (all towns DO require that WINTER temps cannot fall below a certain temp); a common scenario for a tenant of an attic apt in the summer, after suffering the 1st heat wave of summer, is to simply install one or two ACs in the apt without telling the LL; again, unless the LL specifically put in writing that he would provide at least the AC units & the wiring (if not the electricity) then he has committed himself to providing an air conditiioned attic apt; I would suggest that very few LLs would write such an agreement; absent that, the LL has NO legal requirement to provide an air-conditioned apt, & can order the tenant to remove the ACs; unless the town of White Plains is the very rare exception to the rule, and DOES force the LL to offer an apt that does not exceed a maximum summer temp, it will be up to the LL's discretion as to how he handles this situation.
    Last edited by call_me_al; 07-03-2012 at 05:02 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Manhattan
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    Electrical fuses may blow because of poor electrical connections. Check your plugs and outlets. Wiring may become loose over the years and need to be re-attached securely. If you have an appliance that's really warm or the electrical outlet is hot to the touch, turn off your electricity and check the outlet. The electrical outlet may be corroded, especially if in a moist location such as a bathroom or laundry, or it may just need to be replaced. Faulty appliances may cause an outlet to feel hot

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,365

    Default Re: Fuse keeps blowing

    The fact that the fuse is blowing isn't an indication of a dangerous condition. The fuse is doing it's job: preventing a dangerous condition from occurring.

    It's an indication of inadequate electrical service. In order to prevent blowing fuses without upgrading the electrical service, you'd have to connect one of the AC units to a different circuit. That would probably mean using an extension cord, which COULD create a dangerous situation: an overloaded extension cord may not be protected by the fuse. For example, a 16 gauge extension cord is only rated for 10 amps; a load of 13 amps wouldn't blow the fuse but it could cause the cord to overheat and start a fire, especially if the cord is under a rug, junk, or somewhere that it cannot dissipate heat to the room.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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