Need to replace Pushmatic panel?
I'm going to have the basement finished, and we're talking electrical. Contractor says the two open slots in the panel will be OK.
However, electrician friend says the Pushmatic panel should be replaced for a couple reasons: we won't be able to find new circuit breakers for the open slots, one of the breakers is already double-tapped so I will only really have one open slot to work with, and there is still the aluminum wire from the meter.
I *think* this panel is original (1965) but can't tell. Do I really need to replace the panel? If there's a decent chance of electrical problems with the Pushmatic, I'll replace it.
The Pushmatic panel is one of my all time favorites. It was one of the only residential panels with bolt on breakers, which eliminates a common failure point. They only lasted in production until the early 80's. They were hard for older folks to press in and out, and sometime if you didn't press them hard enough, you might have thought the circuit was off, when it actually indicates 'on'. In any event, they always tripped when they were supposed to. There is some urban myth to the contrary, but that was never the case.
Pushmatic was called several different brands as they were bought out over the years. Pushmatic, Bulldog, ITE/Pushmatic, Seimens/Pushmatic. I'm about 99% sure that Seimens still has them, because I still get Pushmatic breakers from my Seimens dealer.
You can replace that panel if you want to, but I see no overwhelming reason to do so. Add a subpanel of another more common brand if you feel you need to, using the last two spaces in your panel to feed that subpanel.
Yes, the Pushmatic breakers might be a litle harder to source and a little bit more expensive than the typical Square D breaker, but most folks can deal with that. I wouldn't hold it against you if you did want to replace that panel, but unless it's suffered damage of some sort, there's just no clear reason to do so.
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