If your home was built before 1990 there is a chance your electrical panel may be outdated. Most all homes built since the…70s utilize breakers in the panels to protect the wiring and attached equipment from overload conditions which in turn could cause electrical fires. Older panels also utilized round fuses instead of breakers.
If your home has the fuse protected panels, you would be advised to replace those panels because many times when the fuses “blow” from overload or fault conditions they are replaced with a larger sized fuse to correct the overload but it in fact creates a fire hazard! Some panels have no markings as to what size fuse to install so it’s easily possible to unknowingly install the wrong size fuse. For these reasons, replacing a fused breaker panel is advised.
There are also breaker panels that have been deemed obsolete for various reasons and most professionals agree should be replaced as soon as possible for safety reasons!
FEDERAL PACIFIC ELECTRIC
One such brand is the Federal Pacific Electric panel, or commonly referred to as an “FPE” panel. These panels were installed in millions of homes during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. The common problem with the panels were that they utilized FPE’s Stab-Lock breaker which among other problems was notorious for not tripping when its designated amperage was reached ultimately causing hazardous conditions which many times resulted in home fires. Some even allowed electricity to flow through them even when the breaker was in the off position!
Many lawsuits have been filed in conjunction with home fires, personal injuries and even deaths caused by the malfunction of these breakers. Therefore, again, it is HIGHLY recommended that these breaker panels be changed as soon as possible.
You can easily identify them as they will have either “Federal Pacific Electrical” written on labeling inside of the panel cover or have “FPE” stamped into the panel cover.
ZINSCO – SYLVANIA
Commonly known as Zinsco panels, they were installed in the 70s and 80s. The Zinsco brand has been obsolete for a number of years yet many homes throughout the United Sates have these type panels installed. Some of the breakers have been re-branded and even re-furbished versions are available at a very high cost.
A common problem with this type panel and breakers is that due to how the breaker attaches to the main buss bar, it tends to create a source of heat at that point of attachment as electricity flows through the breaker. This heat eventually creates a “welding” affect where the breaker components actually melt to the buss bar. In turn, this renders the breaker inoperable, disallowing the breaker to trip of be shut off, thus creating a personal hazard of being electrocuted or even a fire hazard!
This is another panel that should be replaced as soon as possible. It can be easily identified because the breaker handles are multiple colors, red, blue, gray and black which was used to identify the various amp ratings of the breakers.
Breeze Air, Heat and Electrical Services is very in tune with the safety and suggested repairs and replacement of all electrical panels. The two brands of panels listed above are subject to replacement as soon as possible, yet there are other brands and conditions that are subject to faulty and dangerous conditions also.
Let us check out your electrical system and help you gain peace of mind concerning your safety and the protection of your most important investment….your home!