Asked by: Amancio Huix
home and garden home appliances

Are Challenger circuit breakers safe?

Last Updated: 15th February, 2020

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Certain types of Challenger electrical panels and breakers catch fire! Circuit breakers are designed to keep you and your family safe. However, there are a few brands of breaker still in use today that might not only fail to protect you — they could actually cause a fire.

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Likewise, people ask, what circuit breakers are compatible with challenger?

The UL-listed breaker is compatible with Westinghouse, Challenger and Bryant load centers and has a maximum load of 240-Volt.

  • Primary function of a circuit breaker is to protect the wire from overheating (overload) and fault currents (short circuit)
  • Amperage rating: 20 Amp.
  • Single pole 1 in.

Similarly, which electrical panels are bad? The most common bad electrical panels are actually identified by their brand: Federal Pacific, Sylvania and Zinsco, however, it is surprising how often distribution or sub panels are incorrectly wired.

Thereof, who bought Challenger breakers?

The Challenger mark is owned by American Circuit Breaker Company (the company that makes the aftermarket FPE breakers) for small breakers. The Challenger switchgear division was sold to Westinghouse, then Cutler Hammer ended up with the switchgear end of things when they bought out the Westinghouse breaker stuff.

What brands of circuit breakers are interchangeable?

While you now know that Eaton breakers, Westinghouse breakers, Square D breakers, and Cutler-Hammer breakers are largely compatible, you still need to find the exact models you need for your facility.

Related Question Answers

Kindra Blum

Professional

What's the difference between Type B and C Mcbs?

Type B devices are designed to trip at fault currents of 3-5 times rated current (In). For example a 10A device will trip at 30-50A. Type C devices are designed to trip at 5-10 times In (50-100A for a 10A device).

Kenna Perandones

Professional

How do I replace a circuit breaker?

Here's how to replace your circuit breaker:
  1. Shut off the branch circuit breakers one at a time.
  2. Shut off the main circuit breaker.
  3. Test all the wires with a voltage tester to make sure they're dead before proceeding.
  4. Remove the panel cover.
  5. Disconnect the wire of the breaker you're removing from the load terminal.

Bassem Timoteo

Professional

What is wrong with challenger electrical panels?

Over the years it was discovered that two types of circuit breakers manufactured by Challenger were overheating under NORMAL conditions at the connection point to the bus bar. This causes expansion and contraction, which in turn causes arcing between the circuit breaker and the bus bar, thus damaging both.

Erundino Kientzle

Explainer

What is a BR breaker?

Single-Pole Type BR Replacement Circuit Breaker is designed to protect house wires from overheating or causing a short-circuit. The UL-listed breaker is compatible with Westinghouse, Challenger and Bryant load centers and has a maximum load of 240-Volt.

Dimitrina Orcha

Explainer

Are challenger electrical panels Safe?

There are currently three brands of electrical panels that should be replaced, Federal Pacific Electric (FPE), Challenger, and Zinsco. These panels have breakers that have been found to overheat under normal circumstances and create a risk of fire.

Lucinia Duerkob

Explainer

How do you size a breaker box?

Divide the total wattage by 230, as per the NEC, for total amperage of 135.2173 (31,100 / 230 = 135.2173). Your main circuit panel should equal 150 amps. Residential main breaker panels are available in four sizes, 100 amps, 125 amps, 150 amps and 200 amps. Round up your total amperage number to the nearest panel size.

Julita Talzi

Pundit

Why are Zinsco breakers so expensive?

The reason why Zinsco/compatible breakers are so gosh darn expensive is because Zinsco panels are obsolete and have a somewhat checkered field failure history -- while they do not suffer as badly from the issues that plague FPE's line of non-breakers, the Zinsco breaker line still has some of the same problems: namely

Janise Moucho

Pundit

How much does it cost to replace an electrical panel?

The average cost to replace an electrical panel is $850 to $1,100 for 100 amps, or $1,200 to $1,600 is a new service panel is needed. To upgrade to 200 amps, expect to spend $1,300 to $2,500, or $2,000 to $4,000 to upgrade to 400 amps. A low-amp subpanel costs $500 to $1,000.

Darek Finogeev

Pundit

When did Zinsco go out of business?

Zinsco Panels
Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970s. Zinsco is now defunct, but many homes still have these panels.

Rica Fossati

Teacher

Should I replace Zinsco panel?

If you know or suspect you may have a Zinsco brand panel, most experts in the field of electricity today recommend the panel be replaced. Even if an electrician tells you, he can replace parts, it would be wise to still opt for total panel replacement.

Kousar Elezcano

Teacher

Who bought out Cutler Hammer?

Eaton acquired the Cutler-Hammer business through the acquisition of Cutler-Hammer Inc. in 1974.

Karlheinz Saget

Teacher

Are Cutler Hammer and Siemens breakers interchangeable?

Siemens manufactures a CLASSIFIED breaker that is suitable for replacement ONLY in certain Square D panels as indicated on the breaker literature. For example, Cutler Hammer "BR" breakers are suitable for use in certain Bryant, Challenger, and Westinghouse panelboards.

Zorion Belchenko

Teacher

Are Zinsco panels recalled?

Zinsco Panel Recall
While Zinsco too was part of a major recall and lawsuit, the company no longer exists. Thousands of homes around the country may still have these malfunctioning and known hazardous electrical panels installed. Zinsco panels were quite popular during the 1970's.

Osvaldo Ingenhoven

Reviewer

How dangerous are Zinsco panels?

As time has passed, electricians and home inspectors have discovered that certain Zinsco panels often can fail to operate properly and may leave homes and homeowners at risk to both fire and electrical shock. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants.

Ericson Sekar

Reviewer

How do I identify my Zinsco panel?

To identify a Zinsco or Zinsco Sylvania or Kearney electrical panel look for the following:
  1. The word Zinsco on the panel door tag, on panel labels or data tags (Zinsco panel label photo above). [
  2. The word Magnetrip embossed in the steel electrical panel cover or on data tags in the Zinsco electrical panel. (

Jenny Caldelas

Reviewer

Does homeowners insurance cover breaker box?

Electrical wiring is typically covered by homeowners insurance if it's damaged, but the age of your home and the type of wiring can have an impact on your homeowners insurance rates. That's because the older the wiring, the more likely it is to be a fire hazard.

Kadir Glaab

Reviewer

What is a stab lok circuit breaker?

Stab-Lok is a brand name of electrical circuit breakers that were manufactured primarily by Federal Pacific Electric. Other manufactures of Stab-Lok breakers: Connecticut Electric - Unique Breakers Inc.

Kawsu Schenkel

Supporter

How do you know if you have a stab Lok breaker?

To identify a Federal Pacific Electric or FPE Stab-Lok electrical panel you will look for specific lettering, naming or labels on the electrical panel, on the panel labels, and inside the panel (opened by your electrician), and look for the characteristic circuit breaker toggle switches used by these brands.

Francisc Zugtriegel

Supporter

What are stab Lok panels?

Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Panels are a brand of electrical circuit breaker panels that were manufactured and installed from the 1950s through the 1980s. They were one of the most popular brands on the market at that time, and were installed in millions of homes and businesses.