Overloaded Main Breaker Panel

My Westinghouse main breaker is going bad. We took the load off by wiring our electric furnace to a separate panel. We can no longer get a Westinghouse main breaker, as they don't make them. The main breaker no longer smells hot or feels hot. Do we need to worry anymore now that the load is off of the panel. Please help.


ryholman from Montrose

February 13, 20080 found this helpful

My advise is to hire an electrican. What you don't need is a house fire.

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February 13, 20080 found this helpful

Working on a electric panel is no job for amateurs. Do your self a favor and for piece of mind hire an electrican.

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February 14, 20080 found this helpful

My friend is an electrician,he said "get it checked out." The fact that it was hot from overload could have caused a breakdown. I had to get mine changed out and it wasn't cheap ,but worth it...Jan in NC

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February 14, 20080 found this helpful

I just googled "westinghouse main breakers." There are numerous online places to get them. I hope this helps. Take Care! Jan in NC

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February 14, 20080 found this helpful

That old breaker is no longer a predictable protection for the house and should be replaced.

Personally, I would replace the entire panel with a modern SquareD panel. They are really cheap compared to the house burning down and the insurance not paying, because the electrical system was not up to date.

The reason I recommend SquareD is because the panels are roomy and have enough space so that even an amateur can do a neat job.

If a new panel is not in the budget, Westinghouse breakers are still available at


As a general rule of thumb:

It's quite OK if a breaker feels hot. What feels hot to a human is barely warm to the materials used in a breaker. However, if they smell or smoke, they have to be replaced, because some of the solids have gone and all precision has been lost.

Especially with old breakers it is important to tighten the connections once a year. Quite often the heat is generated in a loose or corroded connection.

Have FUN!



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February 15, 20080 found this helpful

You guys are great with great suggestions. Keep them coming they really help us out!

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February 29, 20080 found this helpful

You still have to worry about the load coming from the whole panel, depending on the whole size of the main.

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