Pushmatic circuit breakers
#11
Our son and daughter in law are looking at a house that has Pushmatic circuit breakers/box.
Google is helpful, but wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge.

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#12
(11-11-2023, 09:28 AM)goaliedad Wrote: Our son and daughter in law are looking at a house that has Pushmatic circuit breakers/box.
Google is helpful, but wondering if anyone has first hand knowledge.

A lot of insurance companies will not insure if they have those or Federal Pacific breakers.   Replacing the panel and upgrading to latest code is very costly.   Snipe Hunter can shed more info on this.    Roly
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#13
Thanks Roly! This place needs some serious work and is way overpriced, but the kids love it. They had an inspection done just to see if it is even worth making an offer and to help justify a lowball offer. The inspector flagged the breakers as “antiquated “

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#14
(11-11-2023, 09:47 AM)goaliedad Wrote: Thanks Roly! This place needs some serious work and is way overpriced, but the kids love it. They had an inspection done just to see if it is even worth making an offer and to help justify a lowball offer. The inspector flagged the breakers as “antiquated “

Also a home from the 50's may not have ground wires to the outlets.  With today's electronics almost necessary.   Those breakers were just thermally operated, today's breakers are both thermal and magnetic.   You may check with a electrical inspector but if I remember if you changed the panel, it all was to be brought up to code with arcfault breakers along with gfci.  Roly
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#15
Good points. This house is from the early 1900’s so there are many issues. Nice done, at a glance it looks decent. The inspector found several surprises.
The kids were looking thru the emotional eyes. I have tried to make sure they are looking thru logical eyes. I think I am winning the battle.

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#16
The biggest issue with the ITE Pushmatic or Bulldog systems is their age. Breakers don't last forever. These are a 1930's design and some were still being manufactures till around 1970. By today's standards, very antiquated. It's a thermal design so it has to get hot to trip as opposed to modern thermal/magnetic type breakers to add some safety redundancy. What if it's old and tired and won't trip? It keeps getting hotter. They have to be tripped "exercised" periodically to make sure they're not stiff and locked up. Kinda like an old car. It needs to be driven once in a while.

It's not a faulty breaker, it's just very old and antiquated. Some inspectors recommend replacing the breakers or the entire panel. I recommend evaluation and testing by a licensed electrician. You can still buy aftermarket breakers for them but they're pricey. Like 6 times the price of a common modern breaker.

The Federal Pacific Stab-Loc breakers have a completely different issue, along with being old, obsolete breakers. They don't seat well on the bus and kinda cook or create resistance between the breaker and the bus and fail to trip.

Most, if not all ITE Pushmatic and Bulldog panels don't have a ground bus and the branch wiring has no ground. So by default, it's a faulty panel. But they can be wired with an externally bonded armored cable which provides the ground. A lousy ground, but a ground.
Neil Summers Home Inspections




I came to a stop sign and a skanky tweaker chick in a tube top climbed out of the brush and propositioned me.  She looked like she didn't have any teeth so I counted that as a plus.


... Kizar Sosay





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#17
A box is easy to replace. Is there knob and tube wiring still being used in the walls?
Matt

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
-Jack Handy

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#18
I would have an electrician look at it and if I were seriously interested in the house make an offer discounted for the majority of the cost to remediate the wiring. That satisfies somewhat the emotion while still being a logical decision.

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#19
There is no evidence of knob and tube, but that is a serious consideration.
If they make an offer it will include the cost of r dealing with the breakers and other issues.

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#20
(11-15-2023, 02:40 PM)goaliedad Wrote: There is no evidence of knob and tube, but that is a serious consideration.
If they make an offer it will include the cost of r dealing with the breakers and other issues.

Check with the insurance company also if they will cover the house with a pushmatic panel,  some will and some wont.  Roly
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