Fuse box replacement in the US

I am hiring an electrician to replace my fuse box based on its age and want to do this prior to getting a generator for my home ( tired of dealing with inconvenience of power outages).
I’m in the US. My current fuse box is over 35 yrs old.
I currently have a dedicated line for the Hifi on one of the fuses.
Looking for any advice as I have no experience replacing a fuse box.
What do o need to discuss with my electrician?
Thanks, David

In the UK the recommendation would be to have two separate ones, one for the HiFi, and one for everything else, but I suspect you would have trouble doing this in the US where, like in most countries, domestic wiring is done rather differently to the UK. This gives much better isolation than just having a separate circuit from the main board for the HiFi.

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I would talk to your electrician about your generator plans first. The prospect of you shoving mains power up a isolated grid supply is highly dangerous and probably illegal.

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G’day @davidf,

I had this done on our home in Oz, as we experienced many outages due to trees taking out powerlines during storms and high winds.

There should be no issue, and we ran with a 5.5kVA petrol generator, a cheapie from China, as it was only used for up to three days at a time, half a dozen times a year or more. Changed the oil as recommended after the first day’s use.

There will be a three-way changeover switch in the fuse box, 1. Mains, 2. OFF, 3. Generator.

I did not have the lights incorporated in the changeover switch, so when the power returned, the internal lights came on, and then I knew to turn the generator off and switch the changeover switch back to “Mains”. Though I also invested in a couple of lamps from IKEA, which were plugged into power points in the living room for lighting when the power was off.

It cost about $2k Australian at the time.

  1. Upgrdae mains coming into the house.
  2. New Fusebox (Switchboard with circuit breaks here in Oz).
  3. I also added a power point below to the fusebox, near ground level for Christmas lights at Christmas, no more messy extension leads.
  4. The generator only supplied power to two fridges, a Modem/router, Airconditioner in the master bedroom as I worked the night shift and required a cool bedroom during summer, all power point circuits, central gas ducted heating for winter, and the 400-watt plasma TV at the time.

The wife was happy, and the children were happy as they had internet.

With regards to the generator, it was a key switch starting with its own battery. The battery was fed by a motorcycle battery charger with its own external power point, so the battery was always charged.

The generator held 15 liters of fuel so it would run for 12 hours or more plus a 20-liter spare plastic fuel tank on hand to top up the generator when I arrived home in the morning.

The hot water system was gas, as was the stove/oven. So we had cooking and hot water taken care of as well and no requirement for electricity except to ignite the stove gas elements and oven.

No hassles with noise on the power lines whilst playing the Naim stereo. It was just a basic garden variety generator. Nothing fancy. About $500 AUD on special.

I hope this helps.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.

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Every country has its own specific electrical code (some countries even have different codes for different regions) so I would advise members to please only offer advice here that complies with the electrical code in the US.

David, I have edited the thread title for you accordingly.


I seem to remember Michael Fremer went through a supply upgrade for his house, there’s a u tube on it I think, worth checking as its in the USA.

saw that, dont plan on getting that adventurous.
Will discuss with electrician, thanks to all

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Don’t know about your locale, but here in Ontario, not only the electrician, but the company they work for must be licensed to different degrees. It is illegal for someone not so licensed or the company they work for to do this kind of work otherwise. So I suggest that before you get any advice, that you do background checks on the possible installers.

All due respect to the forum, but this is about the last place to get advice on replacing old electrics.

We had a whole house generator installed when we moved into our current place, which included an automatic switching device to switch the generator in and out again when power returned. The project included replacing our entire breaker box (fuse box) which was only 14 years old at the same time.

If you’re considering going a similar route to us then it’s definitely worth discussing with your generator contractor.

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I suppose I should clarify that I am a registered Electrical Contractor in Victoria, Australia and 100% of my work was in factories.

I am employed a mate who specialises in domestic electrical systems. The mains upgrade was performed by the local electrical authority as our incoming mains was too small and may not be your issue at all.

Everything is above board and done properly. The job was inspected by the local electrical inspector as a requirement for a mains upgrade and a new switchboard (fuze box).

If there are any American sparkies please feel free to add your advice.

Discuss with your sparkie about auto and mannual changeovers. The job took two days and is not a small endeavour. The power from the generator was routed back in conduit and entered the switchboard to the change-over switch rated at 40amps. Being US, I imagine that everything will be larger for the larger currents involved. Get a sparkie who is competent in doing this type of installation or possibly there are companies that sell generator back-up systems that will handle the whole project for you.

As stated.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.

My electrician is only putting in new fuse box
The generator company installs the generator and sets it to automatically turn on if power loss.
I discussed with generator company any issues with placing a quality fuse box by my electrician and said no problem.
I was originally asking any advice on fuse box or specifically any recommendations re my already dedicated Hifi line.
I’m wondering if simply changing to a brand new box and having all new electrical connections will affect sound quality?
Probably not but one can always hope

@davidf ,

G’day David,

It depends on the state of the cables, band joints or overloading of circuits.

A thermal camera will detect any hot, poor joints or overloaded circuits.

The sparkie can sort this out if required. I do not know if your fuse box uses fuzes or circuit breakers, but the latter is more convenient. In Australia, all final sub-circuits have to be protected by earth leakage circuit breakers if additions or switchboards are changed over.

If there is a hot joint, you will suffer from poor current flow, voltage drop, and possible arcing at the hot joint which may be heard on your stereo system. If nothing is wrong with your old board, then I do not expect you to hear anything different.

Will the upgrade give you the possibility of more circuits and will it include earth leakage circuit breakers? I hope so.

I also see that an auto changeover solves all the issues we had to go through on our old forest bush block.

Now we live in a modern brick home, no more asbestos walls, and out of the bushfire zone. We even have FTTP (fibre to the premises) for our internet.

Mitch in Oz.

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