Your safest bets are Siemens QAF, QPF, QT, and QP. The most recommended way to know what breakers are compatible with Siemens, check your panelboard’s manufacturer’s manual.
But what if you no longer have it or the instructions are illegible? You can use the previous broken Siemens breaker as a reference when buying. You can also opt to request new documentation from the supplier.
Read on to know the exact reasons why these are the most practical routes to take.
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Why Should You Stick to the Official Documentation?
This is because there are more than a handful of ways that you’ll end up with the wrong breaker otherwise. Is it risky if you go this route?
Unless you do modifications that raise the chances of overheating, probably not. However, would you be willing to put up with the constant worry that you’re using something faulty in your home’s electrical system?
Always remember that just because you’re able to get a lightbulb to turn by touching two wires together doesn’t mean they’re compatible. I’m going to stress it again: only use Siemens-compatible breakers.
It’s Best to Choose Circuit Breakers Made by Siemens
I said the safest bets are QP, QT, QPF, and QAF breakers because they’re manufactured by the brand itself. Did you know that Murray and Siemens are pretty much the same company? Their breakers even use the same parts, but they are not certified to be interchangeable.
Furthermore, I need to make it clear that many manufacturer’s manuals will only recommend products made by the brand for use as a Siemens main breaker. It’s also important for you to know beforehand that not all breakers made by the brand could be suitable for your panelboard.
You may notice that other brands are more lenient when it comes to their breakers’ interchangeability with other companies. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say Siemens panelboards are just as manageable based on the documentations I’ve read through.
What About UL Classified Circuit Breakers?
UL classified breakers, especially those made by Eaton, are an exception to what I said. Why? They’re designed for interchangeability with Siemens breakers, simply put.
You can confirm the information by reading a Siemens breaker compatibility chart, but that’s entirely up to you. Sometimes, I refer to the Siemens circuit breaker compatibility chart prepared by Relectric sometimes when I’m verifying the information I need or can’t find the information proof required. However, I’d take official documentation over this any time.
A Siemens QP breaker compatibility chart or manual may say that their circuit breakers fit into other load centers made by other brands. General Switch, Westinghouse, Murray, Challenger, Arrow Hart, and General Electric serve as good examples of such brands. However, that doesn’t always mean that the breakers they produce are also compatible with Siemens panelboards.
Take the Time to Test Your Breaker
Even if you’re close to 100% certain that the breaker replacement you buy is compatible with the panel, I’d still suggest you test it first before using it. Check whether it fits the slot intended for it. Believe it or not, some subcontractors even cut breakers with a saw just to make them fit. While that might work, you’ll essentially be playing with fire, literally and figuratively, if you decide to do so.
That’s exactly why I prefer to know what circuit breaker is being placed in my panelboards. The service you hired may be making “adjustments” that could lead to overheating. I’m not saying it’s common practice, but I’m also not ruling out the possibility since I’ve encountered these issues both offline and online before.
For more tips on how to test the circuit breaker in your home, I recommend you check out this official video created by the brand:
It discusses troubleshooting mostly but there’s a good portion that explains how Siemens circuit breakers work and how you can test them, too.
To sum it up, you can rely on a number of Siemens circuit breakers and cross reference sites online for knowledge, but, to me, they’re not as conclusive and veritable as anything recommended by the brand through its official manuals.
So if you’re going to ask me about which first step to take any time you need to change a breaker, it’s always going to be, “Get your hands on those handy manufacturers’ booklets.”
Hope you like this guide on what breakers are compatible with siemens? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.
I am Andrew Wright. I established this blog after eight years of experience designing, installing, and maintaining electrical power systems. I love my job, and I have always wanted to offer others the necessary help so they can take care of their houses.