Shown in the photos below are two different 2-pole breaker switches in my circuit box. In order to turn the 15 amp switch on and off it must be pushed along a longer section of the breaker than the 20 amp, which by comparison has compact on/off switches. Is there any advantage of one of these types of switches over the other? Could the 15 amp breaker switch be replaced with a 15 amp breaker that had the type of compact switches as the 20 amp?

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View with the cover off:

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Thanks so much for the answers. The pictured 15 amp breaker is indeed a bit of an antique by breaker standards -- the house was built in 1966 and that's one of the original breaker switches. Which means the switch has seen about a half-century of use! I wanted to replace it not because of any preference in appearance but because it has been acting up a bit lately (doesn't always want to click into place properly). Now that I realize it doesn't need to be replaced with a longer throw distance switch I'll replace it with a short throw.

Thanks again to those who responded. I learned something new today!

  • 3
    Just different designs at different times from different manufacturers. There's no real advantage or disadvantage to a shorter throw distance. Yes, you could almost certainly get dual 15A units which resemble the dual 20A unit, but I wouldn't bother unless the existing ones were questionable for some reason. – keshlam Aug 21 '15 at 19:09
  • "doesn't always want to click into place properly" if you're referring to it clicking into place at the bus then do change it out. The loose connection can cause arcing at the connection point damaging the breaker and creating a risk of fire. – ChiefTwoPencils Aug 22 '15 at 21:01

The one on the left is old, quite old, early 1960's to early 1970's I'd say. The one on the right is the new replacement for that old style breaker.

The replacement for the one on the left is a non-CTL BR1515. See the question/answer here: http://www.amazon.com/BR1515-Circuit-Breaker-Without-Rejection/forum/-/-/1?_encoding=UTF8&asin=B002YF912M

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