Sunday, November 29, 2009

Restoration of a Queen-Choosing the Queen You Wish To Serve-Part II

The next thing you'll want to check out is the type of electrical system in place. If the house is still on a screw in fuse box, you'll want to give this some serious consideration. A fuse box usually indicates that the knob and tube wiring is still in place and that no updates have been made. Although someone may have installed new wiring in places, the load is still being carried by screw-in fuses that are designed to blow when the power load is too heavy for the fuse. Pennies behind screw-in fuses that keep blowing are probably one of the most common causes of electrical house fires houses with old wiring. Often, the outlets don't accommodate the grounding plug of many of the items we use today and modern household power usage on these old systems is asking for trouble.  For your larger power-consuming appliances at least, (central heat/air units, stoves, refrigerators, even microwaves, computers, and TVs)  you will want to have a modern 200 amp service installed to run those items.  As you work on the various rooms, you can rewire them and move them to the new service at a later date.  The primary danger in knob and tube type wiring is that it wasn't designed for the heavier usage of modern life.  It's ok for standard lamps and most overhead lighting, but as the load increases, the wires get hot and electrical fire can result.  Bottom line is, take it easy on any old wiring you will be using and don't put pennies behind the screw in fuses!

If there is a central heat and air unit (around here they're gas or electric, so I can't give any information on oil or steam units) you can find out how old the unit is by checking the information on the sticker if it is readable.  I was told that the date of manufacture will be part of the serial number, but I have found it in various places on the tag, so if nothing looks like a month and date in the serial number, check the model number if it's not there either, keep looking.  The date of manufacture is printed on the sticker somewhere.  On our old York units, the mfg date is in a separate area of the sticker.


As you can see in the area circled in red, this particular unit was manufactured in August of 91.  While it works, it isn't efficient and is experiencing some problems that cannot be corrected.  It's well past its life expectancy and will need to be replaced.


This one is newer-June 96, but is also failing as the air function is completely out of service.  The life expectancy of a unit is about 12 years.  At the 12th year, the air went out.  Annual maintenance also comes into play when extending the life expectancy of a unit.  A unit should be cleaned, inspected, and serviced in the spring before the summer season and again in the fall before winter.  Neglecting the annual maintenance tends to cost more in the long run as the unit will need to be replaced sooner.  It's a good habit to get into.  A quality well-maintained unit can last up to 20 years or more.

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