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Panel Box Safety

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Older homes often have a rich history and beautiful character. However, there are certain primary features in an older home that need to be periodically inspected and maintained. In particular, the home’s circuit breaker panel could pose a safety hazard.



What to Look For?


Homes built between 1950 and 1990 are at a higher risk of an electrical hazard, if they are equipped with a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) or Zinsco circuit breaker panel. In most cases, a logo will be printed on the front cover to display the brand. If you fear that your panel box is a safety hazard, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed professional for inspection.


Why Should I Be Concerned?


If you do have a Federal Pacific Electric or Zinsco electrical panel, it is highly recommended to replace the entire circuit panel. According to Angie’s List, “An estimated 2,800 fires each year directly result from Federal Pacific panel breaker malfunction.”

Essentially, a circuit breakers job is to trip during a power surge. This often occurs when too many electrical devices are attached to the same breaker. When a breaker is tripped, it will cut of the electrical supply to prevent overheating, electrical damage and fires. These panel box breakers are flawed, because they may not always trip in the event of a power surge. This makes them more susceptible to catching on fire.


What We Recommend?


We strongly encourage replacing Federal Pacific Electric or Zinsco panel boxes. We do not feel that replacing parts alone is a safe alternative. Safety standards today are much greater than in the 60’s and 70’s and these panels would not be approved for use today. The overall weak design deficiencies are serious, and are considered an electrical shock and fire risk.


If you have questions, or are interested in a free estimate to replace your Federal Pacific Electric or Zinsco panel box, please call us at 717-938-2521 to request an appointment.



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