Know the Dangers of Federal Pacific Electric and Zinsco Electrical Panels

September 27, 2017 10:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you own a home, you are responsible for maintenance, repairs and improvements. This includes your home’s electrical panels and electrical wiring, because an inefficient electrical system can increase energy bills, and failing residential electric components are cause for safety concerns.

What is an electrical panel?

Also called a breaker panel or distribution board, an electrical panel is part of a home’s or building’s electricity supply system that sends power into secondary circuits. The panel protects the fuses or circuit breakers, which shut off the power should too much electricity flow through either device. This prevents wires from overheating and causing fires. Unfortunately, many homes—especially older ones—still have outdated panels that can malfunction at any time.

If you suspect you have an outdated electrical panel or failing breakers in your home, hire a professional electrical contractor in North Scottsdale, AZ for inspections and replacement services. Here’s a closer look at the dangers of Federal Pacific Electric and Zinsco electrical panels, which are notorious within the electrical industry.

Federal Pacific Electric panels

From the 1950s to 1980s, Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was a popular United States electrical panel manufacturer. Their products were installed in millions of homes across the country before they were deemed extremely unsafe.

The reason why FPE electrical panels are unsafe is because the circuit breakers regularly fail to trip when the circuit shorts out or becomes overloaded. Thousands of residential fires due to trip failure have occurred nationwide, and many reports are on file stating that a number of FPE circuits in the off positions were actually still sending power through. In this case, electrocution is a great possibility.

Zinsco electrical panels

Throughout the 1970s, it was not uncommon to have a Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania electrical panel installed in homes. The Zinsco brand is no longer in existence, but many homes still have their originally installed Zinsco electrical panel.

What makes Zinsco panels so unsafe is that the circuit breakers inside the enclosure melt to the main bus bar, meaning the breaker doesn’t have the ability to ever trip. That means, in the event of an overloaded or short circuit the power will remain on. A short or power surge could cause the wires to melt further and start a house fire. Look for the name Zinsco or re-branded Zinsco panels under the name GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania on the panel. If you have one, have it inspected and replaced if necessary.

Does your home have one of these outdated and unsafe electrical panels? If it does, you really need to consider replacing them, or at least schedule an inspection for an electrician to check for signs of issues.

The reality is that, if you have outdated electric panels in your home, your electrical system cannot safely handle your household’s electrical needs. Today, most homes have multiple high-definition televisions and computers on at the same time, cell phones charging, radios playing, HVAC running and more. Call Eavenson Electric Co. to hire a professional electrical contractor in North Scottsdale, AZ as soon as possible!

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