adding a breaker. brand?

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  #1  
Old 12-16-05, 06:08 PM
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adding a breaker. brand?

i have a cutler hammer breaker box full of cutler hammer breakers,
i want to add one, do i have do buy a cutler hammer breaker?

are all brand residential breakers made equal?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-16-05, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by maxslomoff
i have a cutler hammer breaker box full of cutler hammer breakers,
i want to add one, do i have do buy a cutler hammer breaker?

are all brand residential breakers made equal?
Why wouldn't you buy CH? Even if it's twice the price of a "generic" it's not going to break the bank. CH makes breakers that fit other mfgr's panels, for example Square D QO, so it's not unreasonable to think that others make breakers that fit CH panels. But I don't know.

There are different lines of breakers, for example lower end residential, higher end residential and commercial. They all have to meet UL requirements and so on, but beyond that there are some differences in ratings. CH has all their technical data online so you can check it out. I would guess Sq D, GE, Siemens and all the rest do the same, and they often provide sample specifications if you need to spell out what you need for a contract or whatever.
 
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Old 12-16-05, 09:13 PM
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so basically any breaker i buy at home depot will fit my box, because there is one type of breaker design for residential electricity and its that simple?
 
  #4  
Old 12-16-05, 10:38 PM
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NO! A cursory glance at the breaker assortment at the HD will show you that breakers are not interchangeable between panels. The exception is a line of so called "interchangeable" breakers which fit Murray, Siemens, Challenger, and GE. Even with those, it can be iffy. I don't remember seeing any "generic" breakers for Cutler Hammer panels.
 
  #5  
Old 12-18-05, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by maxslomoff
are all brand residential breakers made equal?
No! You may only install breakers in your panel which are specifically compatible with your panel. The sticker on the inside cover of the door will list the model number of breakers that fit in the panel. There are also some aftermarket breakers that claim compatibility with older panels, however I would not use them unless I absolutely could not find the correct name brand breaker and model number for the panel.

Often, other brand breakers will look darn close but they will not engage the bus bars properly and create a fire hazard. A loose fitting breaker can also ruin the bus bars leading to a several thousand dollar repair. With most breakers costing less than $10, it pays to get exactly the right one.
 
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