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Replace Bulldog Pushmatic with Square D Homeline?


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I've got a Bulldog Pushmatic panel right now, but am considering "upgrading" to a Square D Homeline. I don't plan on living in my place forever, and figure it could reduce the risk of a fail sale. What are the chances an inspector would call out the Pushmatic as being obsolete and recommending replacement?

Out of curiosity, why is it that when doing a panel change out, AFCI protection isn't required for existing circuits (at least not in OR)?

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I've got a Bulldog Pushmatic panel right now, but am considering "upgrading" to a Square D Homeline. I don't plan on living in my place forever, and figure it could reduce the risk of a fail sale. What are the chances an inspector would call out the Pushmatic as being obsolete and recommending replacement?

Impossible to say and futile to consider. Personally, I wouldn't bother changing it out unless I was feeling the need to add AFCIs or if the panel was too small.

Out of curiosity, why is it that when doing a panel change out, AFCI protection isn't required for existing circuits (at least not in OR)?

I think the notion is that they really want you to take out a permit on the work. You'll be less likely to do that if it means that you'll have to spend a bunch of extra money on AFCI breakers. It sweetens the decision in favor of getting a permit.

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Impossible to say and futile to consider. Personally, I wouldn't bother changing it out unless I was feeling the need to add AFCIs or if the panel was too small.

I'm slowly changing out everything I can to gas in this house, so there aren't any space issues.

I know I can't possibly anticipate every random thing an inspector will call out, but figured I'd try to get ahead as much as possible. Pulling a permit and changing out the panel myself will cost appx. $300. If the purchaser requests a panel change out during an attempted sale, the price would/ could jump to appx. $1,000.

I think the notion is that they really want you to take out a permit on the work. You'll be less likely to do that if it means that you'll have to spend a bunch of extra money on AFCI breakers. It sweetens the decision in favor of getting a permit.

That makes perfect sense.

Thanks Jim..

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[quote

FYI, in Canada, AFCI's are required only for bedroom outlets. Nobody is getting shocked, or at least not enough to warrant wholesale AFCI's throughout the house.]

I'd been so stuck on thinking that AFCI's were for fire prevention, that I'd never considered the shock protection they provide until I read this.

Thanks John.

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FYI, in Canada, AFCI's are required only for bedroom outlets. Nobody is getting shocked, or at least not enough to warrant wholesale AFCI's throughout the house.]

I'd been so stuck on thinking that AFCI's were for fire prevention, that I'd never considered the shock protection they provide until I read this.

Thanks John.

AFCIs don't provide shock prevention, unless its a combo GFCI/AFCI device.

On yesterday's inspection, I saw my second Bulldog Pushmatic panel in 13 years. I suggested that it was fine, despite being much older than the FPE panel next to it. I recommended the FPE be replaced of course.

Marc

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I disagree with inspectapedia in that regard.

When an arcing involved an individual. It is not the arc that is detected by the GFCI but the current resulting from the arc.

Similarly, an AFCI doesn't detect the current resulting from arcing, just the arcing itself.

The answer is in the design of the circuitry of the two devices.

Marc

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FYI, in Canada, AFCI's are required only for bedroom outlets. Nobody is getting shocked, or at least not enough to warrant wholesale AFCI's throughout the house.]

I'd been so stuck on thinking that AFCI's were for fire prevention, that I'd never considered the shock protection they provide until I read this.

Thanks John.

AFCIs don't provide shock prevention, unless its a combo GFCI/AFCI device.

Marc

Thanks, Marc, I should have said shocked or burned. IMO, the Inspectapedia comment is not incorrect. He says there that if an arc jumps to a person, the AFCI will detect that arc and we assume it will then trip - shock prevention, no?

I have no idea why the Canadian authorities chose bedroom circuits only for AFCI protection, but I imagine they have studied historical events to make their decisions.

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If I see smoke rising from my neighbor's house and call the fire department, did I put the fire out, or did the fire dept do it? All I did was sense the smoke and act upon it.

AFCI acts when it detects the arcing. If that arcing is passing current from ungrounded conductor to a guy then to ground, it doesn't know. It hasn't the circuitry to sense it. It's simply responding to the arcing.

Marc

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Thanks, Marc, I should have said shocked or burned. IMO, the Inspectapedia comment is not incorrect. He says there that if an arc jumps to a person, the AFCI will detect that arc and we assume it will then trip - shock prevention, no?

I have no idea why the Canadian authorities chose bedroom circuits only for AFCI protection, but I imagine they have studied historical events to make their decisions.

The idea that an AFCI detects an arc to a person is nonsense. First off, the detection mechanism of an AFCI is that it looks for a repeating pattern of voltage drop and current spikes that are the signature of an arc, and that is not something that would be possible using a human as one of the conductors. Second, AFCIs do have a GFCI function, albeit at a higher level of current than would qualify them as class A GFCIs, but which certainly be activated before any possible detection of a repeating arc to human skin.

As to the reasoning on first requiring them for bedroom circuits, there was no historical track record to support the idea that any one area needed them more than somewhere else. The reason for their gradual rollout was to get the products developed and working. They are a technology that was driven by the codes, not a code requirement that derived from actuarial data. The code-making-panel in the 1999 NEC stated that they had to start somewhere and arbitrarily chose bedroom receptacle outlet circuits. The first generation of AFCIs were essentially beta-tested on the general public, and the second generation of "combination" AFCIs incorporated a great many fixes to the flaws and limitations of the first generation. The 2017 NEC culminates that process with a requirement that they be installed for all 120-volt circuits in a house.

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Trying to 2nd guess a HI is impossible. If someone dissed my half dozen Bulldogs, I'd have to respectfully disagree.

I think it's one of the nicest, most robust assemblies ever built for the purpose.

Same here. Until there's a credible study indicating something bad, what's the problem?

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If the motive for replacing the panel is to have something that is accepting of AFCIs, you wouldn't want to choose a Square D product. They don't make a 2-pole AFCI, so they aren't compatible with multiwire circuits, which almost every house contains. Because Square D doesn't make a breaker that will work with them, they advise against using multiwire circuits, as seen on pages 4 & 5 of this document. I have no doubt they would sing a different tune if they did make a breaker compatible with multiwire circuits, such as those made by Siemens and Eaton.

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I spoke w/ a PGE (the electric utility) meter technician today on a jobsite. He said that the Bulldog panels have been getting flagged during house sales and a lot of them are being replaced during the negotiation process. I asked him if he knew why, and he said something along the lines of " some home inspectors are misinformed and don't know what they're talking about".

I've decided to keep the panel and tell any potential buyers to either take it or leave it.

Thanks all.

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I was worried about my last place - 100 amp service, electric heat, range, dryer everything, 1900 sq ft.

I had a plan to upgrade the main breaker to 125 amps, which would have been cheaper than a panel swap but still costly. In the end, we sold it as is and the subject of possibly undersized service never came up.

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I reviewed two other inspectors reports yesterday. Both had boiler that said to replace Push-matic/Bulldog equipment. One inspection went on to lump them with Zinco and Fed Pacific for immediate action.

I have to consider that the balance of report had more than three dozen "refer to professional" comments.

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[br

Out of curiosity, why is it that when doing a panel change out, AFCI protection isn't required for existing circuits (at least not in OR)?

The NEC wording and the intent of the code making panel is one of when you alter( add to) or change the circuit you must add AFCI protection.

When you are changing the electrical panel you ARE NOT altering or changing the circuit.

There were alot of inspectors ( both code & HI) that misinterpreted the original wording and never bothered to find out the code panels intent when the rule first appeared. Thus they insisted that when changing panels one must include afci protection. Older circuits ,by the way they are ran can not support afci breakers

This is why the code panel added the allowance of up to 6' added length as long as there are no devices in that 6 foot. You can splice the old cables in order to reach the new panel /breakers.

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