Inspector in Training; Help with Pushmatic

Hello! This is my first time posting. I have finished my state course but chose to continue my education using InterNACHI since I felt I hadn’t learned enough to be a competent inspector. I am working on my mock inspections and came across a Pushmatic panel. We were never taught about these in my state course. I did try to research a bit before posting but to no avail. Can you please educate me on these and what all I should be looking for? The pictures aren’t that great as I had to work around furniture and the panel was right up against a wall in a corner. The other panel was locked up tight and I had no access to it. Also, if anybody wants to be my mentor…I’m all for learning as much as I can before I even attempt getting my license! TIA





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Grr! I don’t know why the pics are upside down and sideways. SORRY!!! :unamused:

Marnie,

There are tons of posts about Pushmatic panels that exist here already. Use the search option on the forum and read those posts and it will probably answer many of your questions. If you still have questions after that, you can add them to this post.

Hope this helps.

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All you need to say is that it is an obsolete panel for which new parts are not readily available. Federal Pacific also cheated on their UL testing. Many FP breakers simply failed to trip. This is the real danger. Despite what any one might say about these panels there is no way to properly test breakers in the field. Breakers that don’t trip cause house fires.

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Thank you. I have tried to go over the posts but it seems they all say basically the same, a lot with conflicting information on how to call them out. I am honestly horrible with electrical to begin with. Our class wasn’t overly long, maybe a few hours, and barely covered anything. I had a lot of questions left unanswered. I have yet to take the InterNACHI electrical course.

Thank you! I do know that many have said there are issues but some say there isn’t. It is so confusing to know what advice to go with. I just want to be able to properly call things out, you know?

Hi Marnie good luck you you! :cowboy_hat_face:

Pushmatic Circuit Breaker Info

  1. Pushmatic circuit breakers of the era in the panel use a
    thermal breaker design with no magnetic trip mechanism.
    Modern breakers incorporate both magnetic and thermal
    tripping mechanisms, increasing safety and the likelihood
    that they will function properly in the event of an overload or
    short circuit.
  2. Operating difficulty: The design of the breaker is such
    that, over time, they become very stiff and difficult to
    operate or reset.
  3. State of breaker On-Off unclear: Pushmatic breakers have
    an indicator flag showing whether the circuit is on or off.
    Many times, on old Pushmatic breakers, this on/off flag
    will stay fixed in either position, giving you a false indication
    of the condition of the circuit.
    The internal flagging mechanism that indicates the state of
    the circuit breaker as “on”, “Tripped”, “off” fails inside of
    individual circuit breakers, making it difficult for a building
    occupant or owner to know the condition of the breaker.
  4. Some insurance companies may consider the Pushmatic
    design obsolete & require replacement.
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Image #1:
There are poor ground conductor terminations. Not wrapped around buss termination screw.
Cables crossing over power busses.
Lots to write up.

Refer to licensed electrical contractor for updating.

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One of the key concepts to being in business is CYA (cover your ass). You can’t get sued for calling out an OLD panel, but you can bet you will for not calling it out if something happens. Marc gave you some great information. Regardless of your report method, it is a good idea to simply have some attachments that deal with common old house problems. You could call it, “Obsolete Panels,” or maybe have one specifically for Federal Pacific and just add it to the end of your report for CYA.

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Welcome to our forum, Marnie!..Enjoy!..The water is great, most of the time. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Thank you! That is a very helpful explanation.

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Thanks for that advice!

Thank you! I have been following for a bit :slight_smile:

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Welcome Marnie,
Keep in mind that taking good quality pictures are an asset and plenty of them , up close and from further away ( over all area ) I take about 300-400 per inspection. These will help you when posting on here and also aid you if and when someone questions something in your report. (CYA)

Study hard ,NACH has plenty of great courses and read all the forum questions you have time for, they also are helpful in learning.

Best of luck moving forward with getting licensed, it’s an awesome profession to be involved in.

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Welcome to the forum, Marnie, Enjoy!!
IMG_0097

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Welcome to the forum Marnie lol - that’s what you get with a lot of topics here - conflicting opinions! It is hard to know who to listen to and who not to on here. There is often a lot of BS on the posts that you have to sift through as well. As you read the posts you will see who you think makes the most sense with what they say over time and that will help you decide whose advice to take here.

Marc and Bob gave you some good info here about Pushmatic. I personally call them out for complete panel replacement because of the potential for the breakers to fail to trip, which is a safety hazard. There are several obsolete panels/breaker types that should be automatic replacements. You will learn about those in the electrical course, so work on that next.

Where are you located? You may find someone here that will let you tag along for a few inspections.

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Thank you! I appreciate the information. I live in the FLX region in NY.

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Take it a soon as you believe you can absorb it.

It is worth it!

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Marnie,

Hello and welcome! Based on my 20+ years involved with Home Inspecting in its’ various forms, construction, real estate sales, home inspection and home inspection instructing and continuing ed, you are taking a wise path. State classes can seldom provide “everything you need”. There are too many things in real life. InterNACHI Continuing Ed presentations are excellent.

That said, I have mentored others, locally and from “out of state”. Where are you located? For someone out of state, like the couple from Maryland takes a different approach than someone who can physically come to my office and do an inspection so I can see how they actually “do the work and write the report”.

Lets’ talk by phone if you want to see if you are interested. My office # is 518 827 4852.

Thomas G. (Tom) Valosin, NY Lic # 16000005194

ASKUS Consulting Services LLC

I have never seen one of these panels. For my education, what differentiates this panel from other panels? Often the labels are faded or missing from these older panels, so what should we look for? Just the odd shaped breakers? Thanks for any helpful answers.