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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Fuse Box and Shotgun shell Fuses


I live in an older home, and we still have a fuse box. There are 4 glass face fuses and 4 shotgun shell Fuses  (though I'm not sure that's what they are actually called). Today, we lost power in part of our home. I called our local hardware store as soon as I realized that the glass face fuses had not blown. Of the 4 shotgun shell fuses, 3 were 60 amp. The other was a 40. I was advised that I did not need to mix them, and that I would need 2 60s and either 2 more 60s or 2 40s. How can I tell what amp fuse I should be using? I replaced the 60s in the left box with 60s, but I'm unsure if I should use 60 or 40 in the other.

It depends on the gauge of the wire that is connected to them. Usually the mains to the glass fuses are 60 amp, but I don't want to guess wrong and have your house burn down. Seems like the hardware store guy agrees, however. What is on the other fuses? Probably a water heater, dryer, or range.  See if you can read the wire gauge on the wire that goes to the appliance. These fuses are called cartridge fuses.

Unfortunately, 4 glass fuses is usually not enough to power today's lighting and outlets. Most likely the wrong size fuses are being used, and that can be a fire hazard.  In no situation, should 30 amp glass fuses be used.  Whether you need 15 or 20 amp would depend again on the size of the wire.  15 amp fuses are for 14 gauge wire, and 20 amp fuses are for 12 gauge wire. If you own the house, updating the panel should be a priority.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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