An electrician told us that our circuit breakers (ITE) doesn't match
with our service panel (Westinghouse). He said it's a violation of
code. He recommended that we should have them replaced.
I was trying to get some information on this. But couldn't find much
from the web, e.g.,
1) Is the mistmatch a serious problem?
2) What brand circuit breaker can match what brand panel?
Any information on this is appreciated.
My 200 amp panel has a sticker on the door listing all compatible
breakers and it is a long list. They all seem to have a 3 or 4 letter
model like gfcb, hcb etc. which are various mfgr's models that are
essentially square D clones, if they fit and work, I fail to see the
problem, but I'm not a code writer.
Talk to your local code enforcement office or better yet write
them wiht a clear concise explanation of your question. IFF the
breakrs fit properly and are entrapped sufficiently, there should
not be a problem.
What did he indicate as a reason for them not being the right
breakers? In other words, how did he determine it? That might
tell you a lot. Me made the statement, let him justify it for
your own understanding.
Then let us know, OK? <g>
Yes it does sound like that but the truth of the matter is that if the
breaker is not rated for the box it will not pass inspection and does not
That doesn't mean they won't plug into the box and work properly. They may
very well do that. But if they don't and there is a problem you could be on
the short end of the stick.
On 7 Jul 2006 08:51:22 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Yes, if the manufacture has not certified any other breakers for their
panel, other than their own, there might not be any UL testing.
Rather than spout cryies of fire, electricution, or doom and gloom.
Give your home insurance provider, and ask them, is it ok to use
NON-UL tested/listed component combinations, and will they NOT null &
void your coverage for loss of life and/or property damage associated
with such actions.
Tyically the own manufactures make and model breakers will work with
their own make and model breakers. Example, Square-D QO Panels use
Square-D QO breakers.
Some manufactures have tested 'partner' components and have an aproved
list. Contact the manufacture, and find out what they 'approve'.
This is a frequent topic of discussion on electrical and home
inspection boards, see for example:
where IMO it is a matter of concern. Some examples:
1)The AHJ wants it a certain way. For example on new work the city
inspector in a nearby community says: "Breakers must be from the
same manufacturer as the panel." Agree in theory or not: "End of
2a) The panel manufacturer labels the panel as requiring that only
breakers from that manufacturer be installed in the panel. The issue
here is: do you want to knowingly court even a small possibility that
you might find yourself in a fight with the insurance company and/or
electrical if contractor there is a electrical-related fire?
2b) Same issue if the manufacturer lists acceptable replacements, and
yours is not listed.
3) There is an obvious issue with a factor such as mechanical fit, for
example the breaker does not appear to be seating fully as it releases
with unusually low effort. (There is at least one panel/breaker
combination where the breakers have a nasty habit of pooping out as the
deadfront is removed.)
4) The breaker is third-party replacement for a breaker in a panel no
longer manufactured and regarded by some in the industry as suspect
(for example some Federal Pacific products). The issue here is the
debatable reliability and safety of the entire panel/breaker assembly
- you have to decide if you wish to run what some industry sources
regard as an unacceptably high risk.
5) There is a economic incentive to replace rather than repair. An
example would be one of several older brands of panels for which
replacement breakers are quite expensive; if a breaker fails and you
decide it's prudent to replace the others at $30-50 each replacement
with a modern panel and breakers may be an attractive option.
Paragon Home Inspection LLC, Chicago IL
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