electric panel question

Please comment on the electric panel in the picture. House is 30 years old, the air conditioner circuit and dryer circuit appear to be add ons. The one breaker in the middle doesn’t have any wires attached to it. It was marked “Lighting”. My questions are, why no main breaker? and how to tell panel amperage? I know the way the dryer and ac wires are clamped at the panel are wrong, I also know the lower right breaker is dbl. tapped. Should this be called “further evaluation by licensed electrical contractor”? Also some of the outlets in the finished basement have reverse polarity. Thanks for your help.

electric panel.jpg

I have to run but I will leave you with this…

1.)Sizing a Panel - http://www.theelectricalguru.com/video.html

2.) Yes, on those breakers call out double taps…keep it simple

3.) Notice the cable on the left side has pulled out of the connector…call that out as it could damage the conductors inside the cable. Probably because NONE of the cables coming into the left or right side of that panel is properly supported and because of that…thus the cable pulling out on the left like it is…can wear away at the insulation on the conductors over time.

4.) If their is no main breaker located at the meter location or somewhere ahead of this panel…call it out as such…but look for the main disconnect possibly at the meter location or the other side of that wall space.

5.) I also know that connector at the TOP is not designed to have all those ROMEX cables going into it…call me FICKLE but I would call that out also as if they are jammed in it could have damaged the cables outer jacket and should be observed for this when you actually did that inspection.

6.) Yes, always call out Rev. Pol and let them deal with it…not calling it out would be the problem ( and I wont go into why…just not anymore )

Hope this helps…gotta run…plane to catch soon.

That’s a Pushmatic panel. One of thoes breakers near the top may well be a main. Pushmatic’s often used backfed breakers as mains, particularly in the 100 amp and smaller size. Got any better pics with some more close-ups?

sorry thats the only pic. The breakers at the to are for the new ac and new dryer. There is a breaker in the middle that doesn’t have any wires to it though.

That’s what makes me think this might be a split-buss panel. Too bad there aren’t any other closer pics. You said that breaker that doesn’t have any wires on it is labeled “lighting”, which is what the section of the panel below the “split” is typically called in a split buss panel (the lighting section). I suspect very much that this is a 100 amp split buss panel, and that breaker that doesn’t have any wires connected to it simply serves the buss section below the split. By blowing up the pic, I think I can perceive that the middle breaker there is bolted on with 4 screws, which would make sense for a Pushmatic breaker serving the split section in a split-buss panel. The line side of the breaker bolted onto the mains buss, and the load side bolted onto the lighting buss.

Here are some pics for comparison of a 100 amp split bus Pushmatic I ran into recently. Hope this helps.

After a closer look, I believe this is indeed a split bus panel. I have blown up and circled what appears to be the connection between the upper and lower buses.

Would this panel meet code? An electrician told me that a split buss panel typically meets code because you could turn everything off “w/ 6 flicks of the wrist”. This has many more breakers than the one we were talking about though. To know the amperage of this panel you would check the wire size coming in?

That panel that is pictured, if it is indeed a split-buss panel, only has 5 disconnects to make the whole panel dead. Pushmatics can be a little confusing until you get your head around them a little bit, but the breakers above his red circle are double pole breakers, and the one just above the circle makes (presumably) the whole bottom half dead. There are still plenty of split-buss panels in use, but they were last produced around 1981 (I think).

The service capacity will be the smaller of the: Panel rating (listed somewhere in the fine print of the panel sticker), service conductor rating, and meter rating.

Not actually the meter (itself) rating, but the meter pan/enclosure rating.

The glass meter is of no consequence to the user. IMO unless the glass is cracked there is no reason to even look at the meter itself.