Nowadays there are more circuit breakers and panels in use than ever. This is true not only with new homes but older homes too. Naturally homeowners like to keep pace with the evolution of more and more household appliances, computers and gadgets. In some older homes though the homeowner may be unaware or unable to upgrade the electrical system and as a result be stuck with the limitations of the system. If the decision is made to “keep up with the times” from an appliance standpoint then they should be forewarned to match their needs with the electrical service too. The dangers of not doing this can result in not only frustrations by the homeowner but over fusing certain circuits. Although this can happen with circuit breakers it is more frequent in fuse panels. This likely occurs as the system has insufficient expansion capacity and often as a short cut too many items end up, for example, on a 15 amp circuit. To combat this the dangerous practice of putting in higher amp fuses, and yes sometimes a penny, are used to allow all the appliances to work. The results can be devastating as that the gauge of the electrical wire used is only capable of handling 15 amps. Consequently it can over heat, fail, or worse yet start a fire. Although there are exceptions, generally there should only be 15 amp fuses or breakers in a home. Other common types/sizes would include, for example, a 40 amp fuse/breaker for a stove and a 30 amp breaker for a dryer. Electric baseboard heaters often take 20 amps. Sometimes separate circuits will be required for certain appliances, for example, a microwave. If you are not sure about your system it should be checked.
Tip: Some insurance companies are now refusing to provide homeowner’s insurance on houses with this type of electrical panel.