using different types of breakers in the same panel

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highendtron

Senior Member
I was once told by an insurance adjuster that using different types of breakers in an electrical panel would jeopardize any insurance payoff if a house fire was traced back to a problem with the breakers/panel. I have since talked to two different insurance agents and they both said that while the insurance companies would like everyone to believe that using the same breakers is necessary their companies would still pay. Does anyone know if there would be any violations or transfer of liability on using different breakers than what the manufacture recommends?
 

electricman2

Senior Member
Location
North Carolina
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
I wouldn't think it could be treated different from any other code violation. If liability could be denied based on NEC violations almost every claim would be denied. There are IMO code violations far more likely to cause fires than wrong brand of breakers.
 
highendtron said:
I was once told by an insurance adjuster that using different types of breakers in an electrical panel would jeopardize any insurance payoff if a house fire was traced back to a problem with the breakers/panel. I have since talked to two different insurance agents and they both said that while the insurance companies would like everyone to believe that using the same breakers is necessary their companies would still pay. Does anyone know if there would be any violations or transfer of liability on using different breakers than what the manufacture recommends?

The description is rather vauge. If my memory serves right there are interchangeable breakers where the breakers are tested, labeled and approved as substitute breakers for "otehr" maunfacturer's panels.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
highendtron said:
I was once told by an insurance adjuster that using different types of breakers in an electrical panel would jeopardize any insurance payoff

Code wise that is a violation of 110.3(B).

You may only use breakers that are listed on the panel label or in some case you can buy UL "Classified" breakers that have been classified to use in other panels.

But you can not just use any breaker that fits.
 

highendtron

Senior Member
Bob, I realize that one isn't supposed to use "what fits". I was trying to find back-up data to support my position. I thought that an adjuster made the original comment to me, but couldn't remember. In any case, several friends ( a house flipper, an insurance agent, and the banker in our group) all said that; 1) most agents did not have enough electrical knowledge to know much about panels or breakers, and 2) most insurance companies hire claims adjusters that work independently from the agents so that claims aren't biased. I could be wrong, and I would like to know if I am. As the economy gets tougher, a lot of people are calling after they screw something up and when we are finding that the liability of fixing everything we see wrong is sometimes not worth taking the job
 

wireman71

Senior Member
Highend.. I'd first consider if you are liable? If the violation falls outside your scope of work I'm not sure I see it as being the EC's issue. Almost every remodel or tenant improvement I've been on has code violations by the previous electrical contractors. Unless that breaker that is the wrong brand is on a circuit you are replacing or moving in the panel I personally wouldn't consider myself liable for it being there. In WA they are very lax about existing work and the EC is only responsible for the work they install.
 
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