I came across a pusmatic service panel. Is there recall or other concerns I need to report?

One of the more reliable panels out there. Problem is that the breakers are more expensive and more difficult to find.

Old, obsolete and unreliable. Breakers stick, double-pole breakers will occasionally be half-hot. . .

No recalls, but plenty of issues just the same. . .

Jeff, How would you advise your client about these type panels?

Maybe a regional thing… never heard/encountered any major problems around here (Chicago area).

I have Pushmatic and see them all the time.
Finaly caught Jeff wrong on one.

Here is what I would say.

Pushmatic is reliable but often hard to upgrade.Panel is usually full.
This leaves no room for more breakers.

I recommend that the client have the breaker’s replaced as they have a habit of not tripping over time. Around here (Skokie) about 40% of the panels are pushmatic (and about 30% are FPE Stab-Lock). It’s very easy to find replacments, at least around here.

I try to deterime the age of the breakers, and if they are old, recommend replacment of the breakers.

BUT, I leave it up to the local sparkies. Let them have all the liability for saying it’s all right. :mrgreen:

We must aggree to dis-agree.
I have never seen them with burns Will.
I was on Keeler this afternoon in Skokie by the way.over a mile south though.
Do not worry as it was just a mortgage shoot.:slight_smile:
Poor people could not figure how to turn off there fireplace since they moved in.
I gave them the carbon monoxide drill.

Never said anything about burning, Bob. Being very mechanical, they have a habit of not tripping properly, with age.

I was thinking about the fact if they were not tripping when needed , something is overheating.
I have looked up a lot of info on them however, and have not found much to worry about.
Personally I love them.
Found a panel last month that actually had room for more.(that was a first)
I suppose you could go the fuse theory that , if they exist , it is a older system.
Could cost around 1,500 to replace , or they could put in a side car.
Must admit , I would take the conditions in consideration , as to what I would say verbally or in writing.

Basically just how I stated it - old, obsolete, breakers that stick, etc. I always recommend upgrading pushmatics to a more modern panels system.

Personaly I like them

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Ditto down south of you, Jeff. The electricians here also don’t like them because of all the problems they have. I consider them in the same category with FPE, Zinsco, and Zinsco/Sylvania.

By the way, I referred an Orange County Realtor to you today.

Well, I certainly do appreciate that. Thank you.

There are two Sparky’s whose opinion means alot on this forum and they both agree with me.

Marc D. Shunk
4/17/07, 5:50 PM
If PushMatic’s were still made today, that would be my brand of choice. I cannot remember ever having replaced a failed PushMatic breaker due to a poor buss connection, as they bolt-on like commercial panels. That was a fine idea, on their part. They were very popular in my area. I have heard of them not turning on or off when you press them, which I have experienced from time to time. Sometimes, it takes a harder press than you’d think. I have never had a PushMatic breaker be in a different state than was indicated in the window, however. It might not have “switched” when I pressed it the first time, but I’ve found the indicator window to be always accurate as to the true state of the breaker. Admittedly, the design could have been better.
4/18/07, 9:28 AM


I think the largest downfall was the size required on THOSE specific designs…the sticking issue is normal when you talk about something 30 years old and dust and dirt and well…TIME…we all get a little “STICKY” with time…

But probably the reason we don’t see a HUGE out cry about them is that they were SOLID…and with a few problems but overall worked very well…

Heck…ALL the manufacturers have had issues over the years…

Although I respect both of them, they, however, do not work in Southern California with my Clients. Now if they did, I would tell my Clients the same thing I say about all opinions dissimilar from mine: “Just make sure you get their opinion in writing on their company letterhead, signed and dated.” If they’ll do that, I have no problem because they, then, have taken the liability from me. Once I find a supermajority of people whose opinions are dissimilar from my own, I usually change my opinion. I think that’s called education. There are, however, exceptions.

Good thing you added the last sentance.

I would agree that if they were still being manufactured today, they would likely be a good product. But the fact of the matter is, they’re no longer in production, which, by default, makes them obsolete.

Furthermore, as they age, they generally become less reliable - especially those that are used as “switches” on a daily basis (I’ve seen this in several commercial buildings over the years), and replacement parts are becoming increasingly more expensive.

Jeff …
Here is how I look at it and I expect all purists to shout me down.

If a older couple is moving in and there are Pushmatics, I am not going to scare the hell out of them by telling them to upgrade and save their lives from these horrible beasts.
Fact of the matter is, that they are perfectly safe.
I hope you at least keep Pushmatics out of the red comments.:slight_smile:

Are you a licensed electrician? I know I wouldn’t make that statement about a Pushmatic.

As inspectors we have an obligation to inform our clients about possible safety issues. Outdated electrical equipment is definitely a safety issue.

Read Marc’s comments again. Even he has found pushmatics that won’t trip.