My A/C went out this week. The problem was a broken tab on a bus bar with cut power to one phase of the 220v circuit.
My HVAC guy was able to get me going again by swapping the A/C unit to the dryers breaker.
I spoke with a local company on the phone, they were advising that they'd likely have to replace the panel. My HVAC recommended an electrician but he was booked for weeks and/or didn't want the job.
What options should be on the table to repair this problem? Can just the bus bar be replaced? Replace enough breakers with tandem breakers (AKA cheaters) to free up the slots needed? Could I replace the disconnect for the A/C with a fused disconnect instead of replacing my main panel? Could I have a subpanel added?
Something that will further complicate this issue is that my home has AL wiring. Code may require AFCI breakers to be installed if they have to replace the panel.
The current panel is completely full. I need to find room for a double pole breaker. I have one good slot open and one broken open slot. I could free up two slots by adding a single cheater breaker. Put the cheater in the single good slot and free up two slots for a double pole.
The objective answer I'm looking for here is one that will enumerate my options and suggest what may be a showstopper or strong advantage to each option.