Gibsons Home Inspection, Older Electrical Panel

This blog is about a Gibsons home inspection of a 50 year old plus property. In buildings of such a vintage, it is not uncommon to find some system that are not able to meet the current use expectations.

The other day EKAN came out for an inspection to an older residence in Gibsons. The tenant had complained that his 1500 Watt microwave was tripping the circuit breaker. With newer homes, there is a dedicated receptacle for a microwave; however, in older houses, the kitchen will have no such segregation and a kitchen wall receptacle will be on a common circuit with other receptacles and sometimes even the lighting.

The 100 amp panel was located in the kitchen in close proximity to the the microwave. Upon removing the cover off the breaker panel, every circuit was in service. This house also had electric baseboard heating. So what to suggest to the tenent who wanted an economical solution?

Our recommendation was to call an electrician to do one of the following:

  • Replace the 1 pole breaker switch with two mini 1 pole breakers that fit into the same slot, if you can still find mini-breakers that fit this particular Square D panel.  Then reconnect the heater to the first mini-breaker and now you have a second mini-breaker for the microwave circuit. Or if not…
  • Find a baseboard heater circuit that is not absolutely required. Disconnect it and use that for the microwave. Make sure to label the disconnected wires inside the panel for future reconnection.

Now install a surface mounted receptacle box next to the breaker panel and connect it to the spare breaker created above. The microwave can now be plugged into this new receptacle.

The solution may not pretty but it will be safe. This is an older house with many quirks and this is just one more added to the ecclectic mix.

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