Home Improvement

Discontinued Westinghouse Circuit Breaker ca. 1994

WestinghousePanelIf you’re lazy, jump to paragraph 6…

The day before Independence Day (July 3rd for you non-celebrating Americans), the Northwest suburbs were hit with a major downpour. Rivers and lakes flooded and when that happens, basements flood.

At this particular house, the sump pump continued pumping water out of the basement, but the clay under the foundation was filling up  with water faster than the 1/3 hp Zoeller could manage. So, water started seeping in through the cold joints (joint between the foundation wall and floor) and some hairline cracks in the floor.

Fortunately, I was there on a separate repair job and noticed the water coming through. We were able to move out the cardboard boxes and fabric products up to the garage before any major damage was done.

Because a single sump pump was inadequate to pump out enough water, I decided to have a backup pump and a backup battery installed. Backup pumps can throw water out of the basement five times faster than a regular pump (if only for occasional use).

[READ FROM HERE] To install the backup battery system, I had to add an outlet next to the existing main sump pump outlet. Easy, just go get some conduit and 12 ga. THHN, and a circuit breaker… made by Westinghouse?

If you’ve worked with a circuit panel in the 90’s, you may remember the red and blue circuit breakers (pictured). The breakers may have been marked “BRYANT” back in the 80’s. Well, I did some research and found out that Bryant was bought out by Westinghouse, and then Westinghouse’s electrical parts went to Cutler Hammer. And most recently, Cutler Hammer has been bought by Eaton. So, if you’re looking for the red and blue circuit breakers at your local Home Depot, you won’t find it.

Do not dispair. Eaton’s got that covered with their “BR” series circuit breakers. “BR” for the original “BRyant” name. Although they’re not color coded anymore, the BR series Eaton breakers are the direct descendants of the original and work fine in a Westinghouse panel. I’m guessing color coding the switches didn’t make much sense for compliance (there must be color blind electricians, right?) and electricians work in low/no-light situations anyways.

So after finding this out, I gathered all the necessary parts including an Eaton BR circuit breaker, installation went smoothly. It went especially smoothly with Klein Tools Premium Synthetic Clear Lubricant. Pulling 50 ft. of two 12 ga. solid wire through 1/2 in. EMT conduit was a breeze… albeit a wet breeze.

With a new circuit installed, the battery backup system is working off of an independent circuit and outlet from the main pump. I hope we’d never have to rely on the backup to be actually pumping water out of the pit.

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