It might be time to expand the awareness on a particular issue that has been happening for the last 6 months or so to me and others. Cutler-Hammer CH series panels and breakers have long been considered the Cadillac panel for a residential setting. For that reason, I have been mostly using CH panels in my new work, and in old work whenever I reasonably can. It would be fair to call me a Cutler-Hammer CH fan or fanatic.
For the last several months, maybe longer, certain panels have not been holding the breakers on very well. You clip on a breaker, and it pops back off the buss… literally. I try new breakers, old breakers, and old-old breakers, and they all pop off the buss, so I’m reasonably certain the problem is related to the panel itself. The 100 amp panels, in my lay experimentation, seem to suffer worse, but not all of them. I’m not smart enough to pin down exactly what feature of certain panels causes this problem, but it is very real.
I recently took a pile of these panels, still in their sealed boxes, back to the supply house for credit. I vow to not use them anymore until this issue is resolved. There’s too much at stake. Naturally, they looked at me at the supply house like I had three heads, so they opened one up and tried for themselves. I was happy that the breakers popped off for them too, so they could see the problem first hand. This issue has been talked about a tiny bit here and there on the net over the last few months, but it’s mostly only been known to CH fans.
I post this so that home inspectors who inspect new construction may be aware of this issue when you inspect new Cutler-Hammer CH panels that have recently been installed in new construction. You may end up with one, several, or many breakers flying out at you when you remove the cover. It seems that the installation of the cover is what’s holding the breakers in permanently on panels that seem to suffer from what might be some sort of defect.
I hope there’s going to be some quick and speedy resolution to this, because I’m a bit sad about it.