I am working on a Pushmatic breaker panel and there is no main breaker to shut
power off to any of the other breakers. Is there a way to add a main breaker to
panel? Or am I going to have to replace the whole panel that has a main breaker
installed? I have never seen a breaker panel without a main breaker.
Best to replace the obsolete panel
ITE Pushmatic electrical panels and circuit breakers do not have any
proven design flaws that can cause a fire or shock hazard, but they are
obsolete. Replacement circuit breakers are hard to find and when you
can, they are expensive. The design of these old electrical panels also
makes it impossible to add new circuits and loads to the already limited
spaces in the panel.
There are fewer than 6 (total) disconnects so this is a legal panel.
It is a split bus panel where each 240v load is a service disconnect
and another disconnect for the "split" general lighting bus
disconnect. These were quite popular, dating back before they had
breaker panels and the 240v loads were on fuse "pull outs" with
another pullout for a general lighting bus full of screw in fuses.
If this is still working for you, you can keep it but finding breakers
may be tough if one goes bad.
You can certainly add a service disconnect if you like but that makes
this a sub panel and it will need rewiring (split neutral/ground
buses, 4 wire feeder etc) and by the time you do all of that, you
might as well put in a new service panel, upgrade power etc.
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