Need to replace Pushmatic panel?


Old 08-26-06, 08:51 AM
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Need to replace Pushmatic panel?

I'm going to have the basement finished, and we're talking electrical. Contractor says the two open slots in the panel will be OK.

However, electrician friend says the Pushmatic panel should be replaced for a couple reasons: we won't be able to find new circuit breakers for the open slots, one of the breakers is already double-tapped so I will only really have one open slot to work with, and there is still the aluminum wire from the meter.

I *think* this panel is original (1965) but can't tell. Do I really need to replace the panel? If there's a decent chance of electrical problems with the Pushmatic, I'll replace it.

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Old 08-26-06, 09:22 AM
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Location: New Bern, NC
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I do not have much personal experience with pushmatic breakers, but I have read alot of post on message boards by electricians who think they are junk.

If the panel is that old, it may be time for an upgrade anyway.
Old 08-26-06, 10:11 AM
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Don't be too concerned with the aluminum wire coming in from the meter. It is very common.

The problems with the aluminum wiring was in the smaller sizes like 12 and 10 gauge.
Old 08-26-06, 12:11 PM
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The aluminum wire from the meter to the panel is fine (as long as it was properly installed and has not been messed with).

Replace the panel. It is dangerous.
Old 08-26-06, 08:10 PM
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I know an electrician that has a Pushmatic panel himself. He says the only trouble is replacement parts, which he likely salvages for himself in panel replacements.
Old 08-27-06, 09:47 AM
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I've done work on several Push-O-matic panels and in my opinion they're OK.
The replacement breakers are still manufactured and are available (around here anyway).
Old 08-27-06, 11:11 AM
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Quality of Pushmatic aside the OP noted in his first post that there was only two spaces left in the box. Really only one since two wires were piggy backed.

It sounds like with a new addition at least a new subpanel is needed for possible future circuits (bathroom, window AC, etc) but it sounds like the Pushmatic doesn't have capacity for that. The remodel sounds like a good time for an upgrade. Just an opinion though.
Old 08-28-06, 09:26 AM
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Just a note to the OP: The quality of Pushmatic panels is entirey opinion. Unlike Federal Pacific panels (for example), there is no scientific evidence that I am aware of that shows pushmatic to be any less safe than other panels from its era. Pushmatic breakers are expensive, and you will probably not be able to find any GFCI or AFCI breakers if your project requires them.

If you can afford the panel change/service upgrade, I think it is a good idea. If the budget is particularly tight, you could consider adding a subpanel for the new circuits.

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