Have you ever wondered if your electrical panel might be from an outlawed brand?
Some electrical panels or breakers have been declared unsafe for today’s homes, and they are no longer sold in the electrical industry. Pushmatic electrical panels are one of such outlawed brands.
Pushmatic panels were manufactured and widely used from the 1950s to the 1980s. They are a distinct panel that stands out as the only electrical brands without switches that flip left and right. In Pushmatic panels, the breakers appear as rectangular buttons you could push to activate or deactivate.
Unlike other outlawed panel brands, Pushmatic panels are not a huge fire hazard, but they present other problems that make them unsafe.
Why Pushmatic Panels Are Unsafe
- It’s hard to find replacement breakers
With the Pushmatic panel brand being obsolete and the company out of business, it’s hard to find replacement breakers when you need them. The older Pushmatic breakers get, the more the springs in the breaker rust, corrode, and break. You will find that it gets harder for the breaker to trip and reset.
Finding replacement breakers is also almost impossible, and when you do find them, they are expensive. You can’t add new circuits or loads to the limited panel because of the design either.
All of this leads to an inefficient and unsafe electrical system.
- They just aren’t enough for modern homes
If you have a Pushmatic electrical panel on your property, then it’s likely over 40 years old. Homes built with such panels decades ago were fine with no more than a 100 amp service. For modern homes, it’s different, and homes now need at least a 200 amp service to serve their electrical needs.
This means that aside from being obsolete, Pushmatic panels can’t provide sufficient panels for your modern home.
- The issue of safety
When it comes down to your property’s electrical system, it’s crucial to play it safe. Pushmatic panels are generally unsafe for many reasons. They present the risk of shock hazards because it’s hard to tell if the breaker is in an off or on position. A panel over 40 years old should also be replaced as a rule of thumb. This is considered the best practice by electrical industry experts.
While Pushmatic panels are not considered a huge fire hazard, they still present some level of fire hazard due to worn-out or overwhelmed parts.
- You might lose your insurance
It’s tough to find an insurance company willing to insure a home with this type of panel. Knowing the risk such outlawed panels provide, most insurance companies would rather not insure such property.
Dealing with Pushmatic Panels
Other panels similar to Pushmatic panels and their shortcomings include Zinsco, FPE, and Edison ‘Type’ electric panel.
The first indications you may have a Pushmatic panel is the description above and living in a home of over 40 years old. If you confirm you have this panel, you can call a professional electrician to double-check and discuss replacing the panel.