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Unread 02-11-2020, 10:14 AM   #1
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Default Breaker compatibility

Forgive me guys, I'm a new home inspector (about a year in) and I'm trying to learn as much as I can to better serve my clients... Can someone direct me to a site where I can check breaker compatibility? I haven't found anything that seems legit. Specifically, I'm looking at a Bryant panel with some G/E breakers. Any direction would be appreciated...
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Unread 02-11-2020, 10:32 AM   #2
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GE breakers cant be used legally in a Bryant panel
Eaton-Cutler Hammer type "BR" breakers are the UL listed interchangeable breakers for old Bryant panels.
You will have to dig around the Eaton site to find the literature
For what's it worth Home Depot sells them.

Basically Bryant was a subsidiary of Westinghouse way back when then Eaton bought Westinghouse Distribution and Controls Business Unit in 1994
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Unread 02-11-2020, 10:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by stephenpilara View Post
Forgive me guys, I'm a new home inspector (about a year in) and I'm trying to learn as much as I can to better serve my clients... Can someone direct me to a site where I can check breaker compatibility? I haven't found anything that seems legit. Specifically, I'm looking at a Bryant panel with some G/E breakers. Any direction would be appreciated...
This is something that you will learn as you go.

As a home inspector, you are best off just saying something along the lines of "Some breakers are of a different brand/model than originally specified for the electrical panel. We recommend consulting a qualified electrician to determine compatibility."
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Unread 02-11-2020, 11:01 AM   #4
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Compatible and listed are two different things.

If you can put it in and it works, then it’s compatible.


Listing requires the manufacture to pay UL etc. to test that model breaker in that panel panel.

But do what Hack said. It covers your ars and there is just no way that you are going to find the kinds of issues that a trained electrician with 4-5 years apprentiship and 10-40 years of experience is going to find.
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Unread 02-11-2020, 12:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by stephenpilara View Post
Forgive me guys, I'm a new home inspector (about a year in) and I'm trying to learn as much as I can to better serve my clients... Can someone direct me to a site where I can check breaker compatibility? I haven't found anything that seems legit. Specifically, I'm looking at a Bryant panel with some G/E breakers. Any direction would be appreciated...
Very few breakers are compatible between brand's. The only breakers allowed in a Bryant panel are either old Bryant, or Eaton type BR. Eaton type CL are too, but you arent likely to find those.
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Unread 02-11-2020, 03:51 PM   #6
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There is some more info on this at a site called "Inspection News"
You could also contact the manufacture and ask them. Make up a chart of the panels that use plug in breakers and keep it with you.
Hopefully you wont come across any Zinsco Breakers. Red tag those ..
As home inspectors you guys don't usually pull covers off panels to check inside, do you?
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Unread 02-11-2020, 04:05 PM   #7
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You have to first understand that there are two separate systems involved; the PANEL, and the BREAKERS. There is NO PANEL that is UL listed using anything other than the ORIGINAL breakers shown in their listing, generally being breakers of the same mfr (although not universally true). So GE PANELS are only listed with GE breakers, Siemens PANELS are only listed with Siemens breakers, etc. etc. Where this counts is in the INITIAL installation and inspection of a panel; the entire setup must be installed as LISTED, and that means, because of how the PANEL is listed, all the breakers must match the panel.


BREAKERS are listed for use IN PANELS, but because a breaker mfr can buy any brand of panel and test their breakers inside of it, they can list their breakers as RETROFIT products for EXISTING panels. The official term for this within the UL listing process is referred to as "Classified" listing. In that process, the breakers MUST be tested and listed for use in SPECIFIC panels of competitive suppliers; you cannot willy-nilly install a Classified Breaker anywhere that it will "fit", at least not legally. So before this was all made official within UL some time in the 80s, there were what were referred to as "interchangeable" or "universal" breakers sold; for example Siemens/ITE/Murray breakers would interchange with Bryant/Crouse-Hinds, which became Eaton BR product lines, as well as GTE/Sylvania, which became Challenger, then they were absorbed by Eaton too. Some time after the Classified listing change, Square D released the "Homeline" product lines that fit the same profile as Siemens/Murray/Bryant/Crose-Hinds/Eaton BR. So now there are Siemens (they are dropping the Murray name), Eaton BR (ex-Bryant), and Square D Homeline products, as well as several aftermarket-only brands like Connecticut Electric, that all make plug-in breakers that are classified for MANY of the common panels made by their competitors, meaning you can retrofit a Siemens breaker into a Homeline panel, an Eaton BR into a Siemens panel, a Homeline breaker into an Eaton BR panel, and the BREAKERS are all listed as acceptable substitutes. The PANEL was already accepted on initial installation, which would have AT THAT TIME required the breakers to match what the PANEL was listed with, but on retrofits, that horse is already out of the barn.


At no time however did GE ever get their THQ plug-in breakers Classified for use in any other brand of panel. GE had a DIFFERENT slot depth that was intended to PREVENT that from happening. So if you tried to use a GE THQ breaker in a Siemens panel, the breaker would not snap down all the way and would not make proper contact with the bus stab. A lot of people discovered however that if you used a pair of needle nose pliers, you could break away part of the plastic housing to allow the breaker to seat all the way down, but this only allowed them to FUNCTION, it was never permissible. Conversely however, some of the above mfrs HAVE had their BREAKERS Classified for use in GE panels, because a longer slot opening in the breaker stab did not interfere with use on a panel space that needed a smaller one.


Here is a chart from Eaton showing what THEIR Classified breakers can be used to replace, but it's a pretty safe bet that most of the others have reciprocated. You will see that Eaton has a solution to replace GE THQ breakers, but you will not find this chart for the THQs being able to be used anywhere else, legally.


https://www.platt.com/CutSheets/Eato...ssifedType.pdf
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Unread 02-11-2020, 09:07 PM   #8
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UL white book will specify breakers listed for use in which panel & which panel lists which breaker. I'm sure: Square D QO- QO only

Cutler hammer CH-Ch only. Most others are limited to their own breakers except Eaton, Siemens, Murray, and Cutler hammer BR interchange. Bryant, Challenger, GE I believe sometimes fit, but aren't listed for the application.
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Unread 02-11-2020, 11:53 PM   #9
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As home inspectors you guys don't usually pull covers off panels to check inside, do you?
Of course he is,.how else will he red.flag double tapped neutrals and grounds?

Also, please keep doing this, I make good money. Also the water heater wire needing "protection"

I love home inspectors
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Unread 02-12-2020, 01:32 AM   #10
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What a bloody nightmare.
Down here in IEC-land, any IEC breaker will fit any panel with a din rail.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 11:08 AM   #11
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Of course he is,.how else will he red.flag double tapped neutrals and grounds?

Also, please keep doing this, I make good money. Also the water heater wire needing "protection"

I love home inspectors
I guess it's ok for a home inspector to pull covers off of panels as long as he has been properly trained in the use of PPE's and is required to use such protective equipment when he is exposed to energized parts. If the rules apply to qualified personnel they should certainly apply to non qualified personnel.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 12:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Easy View Post
I guess it's ok for a home inspector to pull covers off of panels as long as he has been properly trained in the use of PPE's and is required to use such protective equipment when he is exposed to energized parts. If the rules apply to qualified personnel they should certainly apply to non qualified personnel.
I think that before OP removes any dead fronts, he may want to do a quick refresher course on arc flash boundaries.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 07:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
UL white book will specify breakers listed for use in which panel & which panel lists which breaker. I'm sure: Square D QO- QO only

Cutler hammer CH-Ch only. Most others are limited to their own breakers except Eaton, Siemens, Murray, and Cutler hammer BR interchange. Bryant, Challenger, GE I believe sometimes fit, but aren't listed for the application.

Siemens and Eaton both have Classified breakers that go into QO panels. Siemens has Classified breakers that go into Eaton C-H panels.
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Unread 02-12-2020, 08:32 PM   #14
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I guess it's ok for a home inspector to pull covers off of panels as long as he has been properly trained in the use of PPE's and is required to use such protective equipment when he is exposed to energized parts. If the rules apply to qualified personnel they should certainly apply to non qualified personnel.
Do you really suit up in full arc flash ppe to take a resi deadfront off?
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Unread Yesterday, 10:32 AM   #15
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Do you really suit up in full arc flash ppe to take a resi deadfront off?
No... I don't, but if you work for a company that requires you to I would. Most residential solar companies require it. Usually the JW that does the tie in at the panel will bring out his PPE's and set them on the ground next to the panel just in case the boss man shows up.

I really doubt that OSHA drives around looking for people working on residential panels without PPE's. Inspectors don't care they pull covers as well without protective gear.

IMO Removing or replacing a cover on a panel is just as dangerous as working on energized circuits probably more so. If I had my way only electricians would be allowed to inspect electrical panels.
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Unread Yesterday, 06:51 PM   #16
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No... I don't, but if you work for a company that requires you to I would. Most residential solar companies require it. Usually the JW that does the tie in at the panel will bring out his PPE's and set them on the ground next to the panel just in case the boss man shows up.

I really doubt that OSHA drives around looking for people working on residential panels without PPE's. Inspectors don't care they pull covers as well without protective gear.

IMO Removing or replacing a cover on a panel is just as dangerous as working on energized circuits probably more so. If I had my way only electricians would be allowed to inspect electrical panels.
Not arguing, but I have never heard of a resi company (maybe a big union company that also does resi?) That gives two ****s about ppe besides a cursory mention in a manual as a cya.

You have much better solar guys in your area than here, I'd be surprised if those Yahoo's can spell electricity. None are jws or masters.

I agree, it should be limited to certified electricians and the homeowners. No other company or trade should be allowed, and technically I think that's already a rule, but ain't never gonna be enforced.
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Unread Yesterday, 07:35 PM   #17
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You have to first understand that there are two separate systems involved; the PANEL, and the BREAKERS. There is NO PANEL that is UL listed using anything other than the ORIGINAL breakers shown in their listing, generally being breakers of the same mfr (although not universally true). So GE PANELS are only listed with GE breakers, Siemens PANELS are only listed with Siemens breakers, etc. etc. Where this counts is in the INITIAL installation and inspection of a panel; the entire setup must be installed as LISTED, and that means, because of how the PANEL is listed, all the breakers must match the panel.


BREAKERS are listed for use IN PANELS, but because a breaker mfr can buy any brand of panel and test their breakers inside of it, they can list their breakers as RETROFIT products for EXISTING panels. The official term for this within the UL listing process is referred to as "Classified" listing. In that process, the breakers MUST be tested and listed for use in SPECIFIC panels of competitive suppliers; you cannot willy-nilly install a Classified Breaker anywhere that it will "fit", at least not legally. So before this was all made official within UL some time in the 80s, there were what were referred to as "interchangeable" or "universal" breakers sold; for example Siemens/ITE/Murray breakers would interchange with Bryant/Crouse-Hinds, which became Eaton BR product lines, as well as GTE/Sylvania, which became Challenger, then they were absorbed by Eaton too. Some time after the Classified listing change, Square D released the "Homeline" product lines that fit the same profile as Siemens/Murray/Bryant/Crose-Hinds/Eaton BR. So now there are Siemens (they are dropping the Murray name), Eaton BR (ex-Bryant), and Square D Homeline products, as well as several aftermarket-only brands like Connecticut Electric, that all make plug-in breakers that are classified for MANY of the common panels made by their competitors, meaning you can retrofit a Siemens breaker into a Homeline panel, an Eaton BR into a Siemens panel, a Homeline breaker into an Eaton BR panel, and the BREAKERS are all listed as acceptable substitutes. The PANEL was already accepted on initial installation, which would have AT THAT TIME required the breakers to match what the PANEL was listed with, but on retrofits, that horse is already out of the barn.


At no time however did GE ever get their THQ plug-in breakers Classified for use in any other brand of panel. GE had a DIFFERENT slot depth that was intended to PREVENT that from happening. So if you tried to use a GE THQ breaker in a Siemens panel, the breaker would not snap down all the way and would not make proper contact with the bus stab. A lot of people discovered however that if you used a pair of needle nose pliers, you could break away part of the plastic housing to allow the breaker to seat all the way down, but this only allowed them to FUNCTION, it was never permissible. Conversely however, some of the above mfrs HAVE had their BREAKERS Classified for use in GE panels, because a longer slot opening in the breaker stab did not interfere with use on a panel space that needed a smaller one.


Here is a chart from Eaton showing what THEIR Classified breakers can be used to replace, but it's a pretty safe bet that most of the others have reciprocated. You will see that Eaton has a solution to replace GE THQ breakers, but you will not find this chart for the THQs being able to be used anywhere else, legally.


https://www.platt.com/CutSheets/Eato...ssifedType.pdf
One of my pet peeves is "Homeline in other panels myth". If you put a home line in a GE type panel it will be crooked and put pressure on the contacts and it will eventually fail. The GE type breakers the mounting ears are centered, Homeline they are off centered by 1/16 inch.

Two breakers back to back, note the mounting ear on the left breaker (Homeline) in taller on the bottom. The mounting rail on the panel is also off center by the same amount. GE types in a Homeline panel will not fit so well ether.
If you open a panel that GE type panel that has a Homeline it is very noticeable.
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Unread Yesterday, 07:41 PM   #18
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One of my pet peeves is "Homeline in other panels myth". If you put a home line in a GE type panel it will be crooked and put pressure on the contacts and it will eventually fail.
With all due respect, I don’t think this is true. It sounds like just an assumption of what might happen. To say that it outright will fail is a leap, IMO.

The jaws inside of the breaker are spring loaded and will deflect more than enough to continue to make good contact when the far side of the breaker is off by the 16th of an inch that you mentioned.
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Unread Yesterday, 07:49 PM   #19
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With all due respect, I don’t think this is true. It sounds like just an assumption of what might happen. To say that it outright will fail is a leap, IMO.

The jaws inside of the breaker are spring loaded and will deflect more than enough to continue to make good contact when the far side of the breaker is off by the 16th of an inch that you mentioned.
It's up to you, low amps probable will not fail, put some high current threw it and check with and inferred camera and look the heat signature.
Go out into your shop, put one in and just look at it, stands out line a sore thumb.
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Unread Yesterday, 08:50 PM   #20
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It's up to you, low amps probable will not fail, put some high current threw it and check with and inferred camera and look the heat signature.
Go out into your shop, put one in and just look at it, stands out line a sore thumb.
If you could post images of a Homeline breaker heating up significantly more than another brand breaker carrying the same amount of current, then you would be absolutely correct.

I have a feeling we’re not going to see that.

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