Bedroom Update: Wired

by Josh on July 31, 2009 · 10 comments

in Bedroom,Projects

My bedroom renovation project passed the first of several inspections a little while back when the electrical inspector signed off on the wiring rough-in.

For now, those new wires are sitting dormant until the walls are finished and the new fixtures and receptacles can be connected.  But the upgrade of the electrical box from fuses to circuit breakers is an improvement I have been able to use right away.

Electrical Box Before and After

Upgrading the electical box has two basic benefits.  The first is the simple convenience of no longer needing to keep a supply of fuses on hand for when a circuit gets overloaded.  Normally I would blow through a box of fuses a summer as I tried to manage the operation of a few window air conditioners, my wife’s hair dryer, and the occasional power tool.

The second–and more significant–benefit of the electrical box upgrade is circuit separation.  As you can see from the inset photo of my old fuse box, every space was filled.  The new 30-slot breaker box provided space for the electricians to add a dedicated circuit for the renovated bedroom, another for the nearby master bath receptacles, and two more circuits for when I renovate the other half of the upper level.  Plus there is plenty of space for me to add more circuits and continue to separate the wiring from room to room throughout the house.

Although I have no plans to sell the house anytime soon, this circuit breaker upgrade also makes a lot of sense from an equity perspective.  When it comes to old house electrical items, original light fixtures can add charm and value.  An original fuse box?  Not so much.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess E July 31, 2009 at 10:24 am

It might be a touchy subject, but I was wondering what the cost for doing something like this is? We have the screw in fuses and its the worst!



Reuben July 31, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Good upgrade. Definitely an improvement. I am also slowly trying to untangle all the electrical lines in my old house. I was recently able to install a new circuit (first time ever… I’m so proud) and route all new cables to put all the outlets & lights in the unfinished basement onto the new circuit. It was pretty easy since it’s all exposed.

Now I’ve just got to figure out what to do with the circuit labeled “old”…


Jose Slice July 31, 2009 at 6:22 pm

This is a good way to go. My old box used breakers, but they were so old and worn that they no longer provided any load protection. My upgrade gave me plenty of room for future projects.

As to the previous comment regarding cost, just get estimates. I got bids anywhere from $500 to $800.


Jess E July 31, 2009 at 10:33 pm

thanks Jose. I was terrified that someone was going to say like $4000! haha. Our house is a semi detached built in 1912. It will forever be a work in progress! 🙂


Josh August 1, 2009 at 8:32 am

@Jess E: My electrical bids weren’t itemized, so I don’t know the exact cost for the panel upgrade portion of the work. It can be hard to generalize because of the variables involved. For example, my service drop had already been upgraded from 60-amp to 100-amp service and service upgrades and panel upgrades often go together. As one electrician told me, the previous owners “did the expensive part” in upgrading to 100-amp service then left it connected to the old, full fuse box. Jose is right about getting several estimates– I found price variability of over 50% between contractors for the same work.


Sandy August 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

Wow! Nice electrical panel. Would upgrading to that kind of box also be better in terms of safety? My house is only 900 sq. ft., but I often worry about my fuse box during storms or power outages.

Reply September 25, 2009 at 1:41 pm

When we bought our home 3 years ago, our electrical box was upgraded to the breakers. It was a selling point, along with “all new copper plumbing”.

The truth is…. the only electrical that was redone in the whole house WAS the box. The only copper plumbing redone in the house was the toilet water outlet and the shower pipe. Whoopie!

But at least we have a new electrical box and during my recent renovation, we tapped into it and added some breakers and also separated some lines. All of the wiring in the house was the old knob style… now half the house has all new wiring. Luckily, a friend of mine is an electrician and did all the work… Im sure he saved me a ton of money! Time to buy him a coke and pizza again!


threadbndr October 10, 2009 at 9:38 am

Bringing in the upgraded service and relocating the box and running one new circut in the basement (for my freezer) cost about $1200 five years ago.

I, too, left the old circuts connected to the new box. After I upgrade the HVAC (next year, I hope), and the plumbing in and out, I’ll get to work on replacing and untangling all the main floor circuts.

My bungalow is a early 1930’s owner built – very cute. They are always a work in progress.

(Over here from the link on Young House Love – and your house inspires me – good luck on the TruValue gig.)


Jim July 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

It has been a while since your post, but just wondering if you still have the old fuse panel laying around. I collect these things and would be willing to take it off your hands. Thanks.


Josh August 7, 2010 at 7:20 am

Sorry, Jim. I let the electricians trash the old fuse box and didn’t even think of reusing or repurposing it. Let me know if you’d ever like to share some photos and descriptions of your collection– I bet my readers might like to see it.


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