Pushmatic breaker

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bqz, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I'm posting in the right place but I have a question concerning a pushmatic breaker.
    What I have is this,an old fuse box with a pushmatic breaker box next to it that runs a dryer(220). The breaker is very old 20-30 years,I want to replace it with a new modern breaker box,can anyone tell me what I need to get this done ? :shrug:
     
  2. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    Need a bit more information........like WHY do you wish to replace it with a more modern breaker box??? Does the pushmatic breaker NOT work any longer? Or are you just afraid that it won't work correctly?

    I can tell you now, that it would be far, far cheaper to just replace the breaker itself, with another pushmatic than to pull out the old breaker box and replace with "a newer style"......
     

  3. Ozarka

    Ozarka Well-Known Member

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    Probably you might have asked this question on the Shop Talk section of the board, but for what it's worth:
    a.) If it works, don't fix it.
    b.) If you are going to replace the box, the entire service is probably in need of a change out.
    c.) The pushmatic breakers are just fine, like most of the rest of them, until they start nusance tripping, then go to an electrical wholesale house and replace the breaker. I believe that Pushmatic breakers are still in production, but there are none in the area where I live now, and it's been 15 years since I was in KC and in need of one.
    d.) Hire a real licensed electrician to do this, it ain't a paint by numbers situation, this is where you need an experienced professional, not an experienced handyman...
    e.) If you find the appropriate breaker at a Home Despot or Lowdownes, remember that the clerks are not knowledgeable about the craft, if they were they would be in the craft, not stocking parts...
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I managed to get an obsolete breaker off ebay.
     
  5. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Yeap! We can only run our dryer on small loads because the heater in the dryer kicks off if you try to run a large load ,the dryer keeps running but it kicks the top breaker(there are two in the same box) and then no heat.
    The thing is the breakers are so old I can't find replacements to fit the box they are in,so I was just thinking update the thing a bit with a new box and new breaker.
     
  6. wnychris

    wnychris Well-Known Member

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    True indeed. My friend has pushmatics and he found a B/N one on Ebay.
     
  7. WayneR

    WayneR Well-Known Member

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    Push Matic, Zinsco, Stab Lok. :flame: You are wise wanting to update your breaker box to more modern, available and affordable ones.

    Reworked a family members box once by replacing the insides only, while retaining the original metal box. It was built into a brick wall on the outside of the building. Replacing the entire assembly was not practical :help:

    The earlier admonitions about having someone capable upgrading your box still apply.
     
  8. Unless you know your electric good, be wise and hire a professional electrician to update your service. With everything that goes in a house today those little fuse boxes just doesn't do justice anymore.

    In the last 12 months I have redone approximately 3 services that had the very same problem. I work cheap and the parts and labor ran my customers from $1800 - $2500 each. The highest had a subpanel put in also.

    I replaced their old fuse boxes with 200 amp panel boxes and replace their service entry to the meter pole. By the time I got through with them they can add any electrical appliance they want.
     
  9. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks r.h. but I just want to replace the little pusmatic breaker box to the left of the fuse box.I'll be selling soon and don't want to sink a lot of $$ in to the place.
    It's just a breaker between the dryer and the fuse box.I was thinking maybe a new box (it's about 5x7)and an up to date breaker "switch".

    I figured it can be that hard three wires in ,three wires out ,ground two on ground bar and two on box and two on the switch. Right or wrong :shrug:

    My main question was what do I need to do it?I could ask the guys at the hardware but I don't want them to sale me things I don't need ,so I figured Id ask all my good friends here at Homestead first in order to get some insight to what I'm looking for. :)
     
  10. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    One of the MAIN things that no one has yet asked (and you haven't provided) is what is the size of the Pushmatic breaker that you wish to replace?

    From the way you describe things, it may NOT be that it is too old, but that it is too SMALL for the duty that you are asking it to do!!! :nono:
     
  11. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Good question,to the best of my limited knowledge it looks like a double 30
    but not 100% on that ,the bottom of two reads 30 and the top has nothing on it at all ,so my best guessis a double 30 :shrug:.
    Thing is only the top one keeps kicking off and from what I can tell it's all one piece(that's the weird part). I've looked at a lot of the push breakers and haven't seen one like it yet.
     
  12. copperkid3

    copperkid3 Well-Known Member

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    Well now.....I am confused.......the amperage rating is correct for the application, but your comment about "top one" and "bottom" is throwing me, because the only doubles that I've ever seen, are side-by-side; also known as TWINS ......so unless someone installed the breaker box that holds this double breaker a full 90 degrees out of a normal vertical installation, this doesn't make much sense???
     
  13. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't surprise me a bit.The are side by side, but north and south ,not east and west,one over the other (top and bottom)if that makes any sense?

    Also I haven't mention this yet ,but it has a bit of a buzz to it when dryer is running and eventually kicks off. :shrug: Any idea?

    I tell ya man ,I just want to change the stupid thing and be done with it.
    Can you tell me what parts I might need??
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know electric wiring looks easy.

    It isn't. It's easy to get the end result of juice at the end of 2 wires & making an appliance work for the day. That's easy.

    Making it safe is the _hard_ part. There are many little gotchia's.

    From your explination of things, you are way, way over your head on this.

    A drier should be tripping both sides at the same time if it trips. From what you say, it sounds like only one leg is tripping? Something is not right in what you have, anyhow. Not to code. So we can't tell you to just replace what you have as it is.....

    If you plan to sell the house, a new breaker box nice & neat (all of it, not just the subpanel), profesionally installed with no extra sub-panels can add more to the sales price than what it costs you. Just a thought. People look at the mess of fuses & sub panels & groan, deduct $5,000 from the price to offer right there.......

    Replacing a sub-panel can be pretty straight forward, but will you get the grounding right? Will you get the right size & type of breaker? Will you keep it safe?

    Will the next home owner be harmed by a slight mistake you make, and have the house burn down or be electrocuted? Will they come back after you for an improper job? That happens these days, buyers come back after the previous owner years later.... Seems govt law is supporting that sort of thing.....


    The parts you need are a drier-sized sub-panel box and someone with experience to install it correctly.

    Don't mean to be harsh, but honest.

    --->Paul
     
  15. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Your right on the money there,Perhaps your right! I should look into getting a professional out to give me a price on the thing and quit being so stubborn (or maybe just cheap)it just breaks my heart to spend all that money on something that seems so simple. :grump:
    I'll tell one thing though I'll be in his hip pocket the whole way ,asking a million question. :hobbyhors
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I didn't know we had met, you described me perfectly! :)

    Had this farm rewired, I spent 5 days following the electricians around. Once they figured out I wasn't telling them what to do but just loved to see how things work, we all had a good time.

    --->Paul
     
  17. Is the breaker box surface mounted? If so all you need to do is buy a 70 amp, 2 pole surface mount fuse box and use a 30 amp breaker for the dryer outlet. I use Square D brand of box and breaker. The old pushmatic breaker box circuit maybe coming off the hot lugs of the fuse box so therefore you may have to shut the meter off before replacing the old breaker box.

    If you here a buzzing then you definetly need to replace it and the old pushmatic box and breakers have been discontinued for many years. There's no getting new breakers for them unless you find an old hardware store that has one setting way back in the dungon on a shelf collecting dust.

    I replaced a pushmatic just this last summer. One of the breakers had tripped and was stuck in the tripped position but was still hot. You couldn't turn the breaker on or off. Very, very dangerous.

    If the pushmatic box is inset in the wall you might could get by with disconnecting the wires inside of it and then gut the box out of its breakers and lugs. Splice more wires onto the existing wires and feed through the box lid and in through the back of the new breaker box. Then mount the new surface mounted breaker box on top of the old box lid. Then hook up the wires inside the new box.

    Or, if inset. Then carefully remove the old pushmatic box and install a new flush mount 6 pole, 100 amp breaker box in place of the old box. Be careful removing the existing box so that you don't damage any wiring inside the walls. But if you go through the trouble of doing this then you might as well replace both the pushmatic and the fuse box with one 100 amp, 20 pole breaker box.

    Hope this helps!
     
  18. bqz

    bqz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips everyone.
    Had electricians out yesterday and they put in new 100amp. service to my house, no more fuse boxes :dance: ,I tell ya it was a sweet deal,they put in new everything from pole to box.

    O ya ,rambler I asked a lot of questions and learned a bunch thanks again for the help.

    Q.