How long are circuit breakers supposed to last?

Originally Posted By: jtedesco
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Hi Joe

Received from a member from NACHI Southwest Michigan Area.

Question: I had a NAHI inspector call me today to make reservations for our Chapter meeting next Friday. We started a conversation and he explained he was an electrician. He presented a question to me that caught me by surprise, being the fact that he was an electrician. Although I've never been asked this one myself. How long are circuit breakers suppose to last? 15, 25, 35 years? Has UL assigned a life span expectancy to them? Look forward to your response.

My answer to his email:

Most CB's can be installed and never get called into service because of an overcurrent condition. I believe that instructions call for exercising them. My breakers are over 23 years old and will probably out live me. The question as to a life span could be answered almost by saying ?forever? then again it would be based upon use and loads. Ask your friend if he is aware of ?SWD? type breakers for use as a switch. See NEC 240-83. Joe can be researched for the standard used that may include this information.

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

Originally Posted By: Mike Parks
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.

Joe and others

When CB first came out did not the manufactures say that once they tripped they should be replaced?

Mike P.