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Square D Homeline or QO or Cutler Hammer?

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Square D Homeline or QO or Cutler Hammer?

Old 10-21-2019, 08:22 AM
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Default Square D Homeline or QO or Cutler Hammer?

I have a Federal Pacific 200 amp panel board in my hallway closet. I want to replace it due to the known issues. It is fed from a 200 amp fused disconnect in my basement. When AC was added to the house by the previous owner, the electrician (I assume, possibly the HVAC contractor) added lugs in the 200 amp disconnect to power the outside condenser. The wires run from the disconnect to a 30 amp disconnect in the basement to a 30 amp disconnect on the outside wall beside the condenser.

My thought is to place a 200 amp service panel by the meter to get rid of the 200 amp fused disconnect in the basement (basement floods periodically). The condenser could be fed from a breaker in the service panel to get rid of the two 30 amp disconnects. The service panel would be 5 feet from the condenser and in sight.

The new panelboard inside could possibly drop to a 100 amp panel. The water heater is natural gas fired. The oven, cooktop, and dryer are the big loads with the rest being lights and receptacles.

Question is what brand equipment to go with for replacement.



Old 10-21-2019, 08:50 AM
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All I can say is that Square D breakers are readily available at any big box store.
Old 10-21-2019, 08:54 AM
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Square D
Old 10-21-2019, 09:35 AM
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Square D QO breakers. The HOM are good but the QO are a little beefier and I think easier to find.
Old 10-21-2019, 09:43 AM
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Square D all day long. Also, would highly recommend keeping the 200A service at the panel. One thing I have learned over the years is never go backwards in capacity.
Old 10-21-2019, 10:06 AM
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If I have a 200 amp service panel with a 30 amp double pole breaker for my condenser, I thought I would need to step down for the breaker feeding the panelboard inside.
Old 10-21-2019, 10:21 AM
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around here when you disconnect the meter to redo electrical, you have to bring everything up to code before they will reinstall the meter.

a breaker panel in a closet does not meet code anymore,
So I have not replaced my panel yet.
rerunning all of the wiring to a new panel in a different place would be a pain in the a$$.

maybe leave the disconnect so you do not need to pull the meter and just add a panel if you want, but watch your wire size to keep it with in the disconnect rating, I assume this is a fused disconnect
Old 10-21-2019, 10:24 AM
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Cutler Hammer - Lifetime Warranty. Copper Bus Bar

Everything else is inferior. Homeline isn't even in the ballpark
Old 10-21-2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by zig10 View Post
Square D all day long. Also, would highly recommend keeping the 200A service at the panel. One thing I have learned over the years is never go backwards in capacity.
100% agree; if you have 200 amp service you should have a 200 amp panel and everything should be fed from it.
Old 10-21-2019, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
around here when you disconnect the meter to redo electrical, you have to bring everything up to code before they will reinstall the meter.

a breaker panel in a closet does not meet code anymore,
So I have not replaced my panel yet.
rerunning all of the wiring to a new panel in a different place would be a pain in the a$$.

maybe leave the disconnect so you do not need to pull the meter and just add a panel if you want, but watch your wire size to keep it with in the disconnect rating, I assume this is a fused disconnect

Interesting question there. How much will have to be brought up to code? They might quite easily require AFCI and GFCI protection on the circuits defined in article 210. The closet thing may also be an issue. What is stored there?
(D) Not in Vicinity of Easily Ignitible Material. Overcurrent devices shall not be located in the vicinity of easily ignitible material, such as in clothes closets.
Old 10-21-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by gfretwell View Post
Interesting question there. How much will have to be brought up to code? They might quite easily require AFCI and GFCI protection on the circuits defined in article 210. The closet thing may also be an issue. What is stored there?
I do not think what is stored in a closet has anything to do with not having a panel in a closet, but the size of the closet may have a lot to do with it.
there is a required space/distance in front of the panel and on both sides for access and work in the panel from what I remember
Old 10-21-2019, 03:36 PM
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This was the closet during the home inspection prior to purchase. It is full of coats now.

Old 10-21-2019, 03:37 PM
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You can always make the panel in the closet a junction box and put all the new breakers in the new panel outside. We have done this several times with old panels in the kitchen cabinets.
Old 10-21-2019, 04:16 PM
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Square D period.
You buy a breaker to protect your home and life, not because one has a "lifetime" warranty.
Square D works every time. The guts in the homeline and the QO series are identical except for the visible trip window from what I've been told at the electrical supply house I deal with.
Old 10-21-2019, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
I do not think what is stored in a closet has anything to do with not having a panel in a closet, but the size of the closet may have a lot to do with it.
there is a required space/distance in front of the panel and on both sides for access and work in the panel from what I remember
food for thought: you're responding to an inspector who posted a an article from the code and how he may interpret it.
Old 10-21-2019, 06:35 PM
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"The guts in the homeline and the QO series are identical except for the visible trip window from what I've been told at the electrical supply house I deal with."

This. ^^^^^^^^
Old 10-21-2019, 08:54 PM
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Square D (aka Schneider Electric). And I'm not just recommending them because I worked for SqD as design engineer for 20 years and now collect a pension from them ;-) Keep that pension funded!
Old 10-21-2019, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
I do not think what is stored in a closet has anything to do with not having a panel in a closet, but the size of the closet may have a lot to do with it.
there is a required space/distance in front of the panel and on both sides for access and work in the panel from what I remember
Granted you still have the 110.26 working space issues but what is in the closet is important too. "Coats" is a non starter ("Easily Ignitable material"). If an inspector sees that rod, it will be tagged. He will also get out his tape and insure the 30w x 36d x 78h "working space is there. If you get that I would just have a vacuum, a mop and a broom in there when the inspector looks, take the rod down.
You might be stuck with CH no matter what because they make a number of retrofit panel boards that fit in FP enclosures, assuming yous is one of them. SqD doesn't and they will fight "classified breakers" until the last dog dies.

That might be called a "repair" and not require a permit.
After the dust settles from that you can address the disconnect situation if you really want to. That probably will get a permit.
Old 10-21-2019, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GaryDoug View Post
Square D (aka Schneider Electric). And I'm not just recommending them because I worked for SqD as design engineer for 20 years and now collect a pension from them ;-) Keep that pension funded!
Do you know Jim Pauley? He used to do a lot of inspector seminars and was real good friends with Harvey Johnson (C/H). Harvey was one of the guys who developed the AFCI and my neighbor. It was fun watching them argue about classified breakers
Old 10-22-2019, 03:05 AM
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Homeline=aluminum bus
QO=tin plated copper bus.
Cutler Hammer CH series=silver plated copper bus.
Cutler Hammer BR series= depends could be tin plated copper or aluminum.

Cutler CH series is the a notch above QO Cutler AFCI breakers seem to be several notches above QO. .

Stay away from GE you will be fine.

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